Should homeschooling Christian parents be allowed to withhold education from their children because they believe the Rapture is imminent?
That’s a question the Texas Supreme Court will be deciding very soon.
The case involves Laura and Michael McIntyre. In 2004, they removed all nine of their children from a private school in order to homeschool them. But Michael’s brother Tracy said he “never observed the children pursuing traditional schoolwork” when they were supposed to be learning.
Tracy overhead one of the McIntyre children tell a cousin that they did not need to do schoolwork because they were going to be raptured.
It wasn’t until their 17-year-old daughter Tori ran away from home so she could “attend school” that the McIntyres were more closely scrutinized. When Tori’s high school needed to know her level of education and what curriculum she had used so they could place her properly, administrators contacted her parents, who refused to cooperate. They argued that a previous Supreme Court ruling let them off the hook from compulsory, regulated education for their children beyond eighth grade.
A lawsuit resulting from that clash was temporarily resolved more than a year ago when an Appeals Court ruled that the Supreme Court’s decision didn’t apply to this family:
The appeals court ruled that educational regulations did not prevent the McIntyres’ First Amendment right to “free exercise of religion.” The court said that 1972 court case which found that Amish did not have to send their children to school after the eighth grade did not exempt the McIntyres.
“No parents have ever prevailed in any reported case on a theory that they have an absolute constitutional right to educate their children in the home, completely free of any state supervision, regulation, or requirements,” the ruling stated. “They do not have an ‘absolute constitutional right to home school.’”
The family appealed the ruling all the way to the all-Republican Texas Supreme Court, which will hear the case today and decide on it soon.
In court filings, the McIntyres say the district is biased against Christians and accuse its officials of mounting a “startling assertion of sweeping governmental power.”
Most of her children are now grown, but Laura McIntyre is still home-schooling her youngest.
“We are definitely looking for a little clarification,” Laura McIntyre said briefly by phone. She, her husband and other relatives subsequently didn’t return messages seeking further comment.
As far as homeschooling goes, Texas only requires that parents provide a written curriculum “designed to meet basic educational goals” in core subjects, but there’s no mandatory testing to see if the kids are actually learning anything.
Let’s hope the Court upholds the previous ruling. It doesn’t even matter that they’re waiting for the Rapture. Preventing children from being educated is a form of child abuse. The parents have every right to homeschool their kids, but if they’re neglecting that duty, someone needs to step in. When the Rapture doesn’t come, those kids are going to need a way out of the hellhole the parents are creating for them.
(Image via Shutterstock. Thanks to Charles for the link. Large portions of this article were posted earlier)