Thursday, July 01, 2010

Troubling case against homeschool group

Homeschool case sees unwanted intervention by the Indiana Court

The mother of one of the children filed a complaint with the Commission, accusing the other mothers of dismissing her child from the group because of a disability.  The Thomas More Society is representing the group and claims the accusations are false. But what is most troubling, according to attorney Peter Breen, is that the Indiana Civil Rights Commission is overstepping its boundaries.

As the former Moderator of a homeschool group I know first hand that sometimes it is necessary to dismiss a family who refuses to follow the groups rules. For the courts to impose themselves and tell homeschoolers who they MUST associate with is outrageous.

 Who Could Eat What’ at the Group’s Banquet.

FACES’ litigation arose when one mother whose daughter allegedly suffered from a serious food allergy insisted that her child have a special diet at the group’s banquet. FACES’ leaders believed in good faith that a different home-prepared meal would pose less risk to the girl’s health. But the mother circumvented the leaders’ decision, then filed a civil rights charge, claiming “disability discrimination” by reason of FACES’ alleged failure to “accommodate” her daughter’s allergy problem, and then she filed another charge of “retaliation.”

Food allergies are a real problem, but often the parents of children with food allergies make outrageous demands. The courts should not be able to dictate what other children can or cannot eat due to another child's food allergies.  We had one member whose child was allergic to peanuts. She DEMANDED that we prohibit other children from bringing any peanut products or anything (including drinks) from Chick-fil-A  (supposedly they use peanut oil to fry stuff) to park days and threw a hissy fit when we refused to capitulate to her demands. And keep in mind we were meeting at a PUBLIC PARK where anyone would be free to come, not just members of "our group". We did offer to have a "peanut free table" where her child could sit at park days and as we are member led we pointed out that she was FREE to arrange her own "peanut free" activities. I guess I should be thankful she didn't sue us. 

In the Indiana case the girl was supposedly allergic to chicken The homeschool group said the mother could bring a home-prepared meal for her but the Mother went behind the groups back and arranged for the banquet hall staff to prepare a steak dinner for her daughter (I am assuming that this led to additional cost to the group as steak is more expensive then chicken). Judge rules against home-school group on discrimination claim

Frankly I fail to see why The Indiana Civil Rights Commission (ICRC) is involved in this dispute. This case could have an impact on ALL HOMESCHOOL  GROUPS, especially those of us who are INCLUSIVE and meet solely for educational purposes.