Townspeople Defend Home Schoolers' Rights: F.A.I.T.H. and Victory in Massachusetts
A Testimony by Rina Cavallini and Deb Hubacz
Through an incredible moving of the Holy Spirit, last year seven families here in North Brookfield, Massachusetts decided to begin or continue home schooling our children. Little did we realize what a faith booster it would become. Immediately one thing became quite evident for us, and that was the direction and miraculous way God pulled our families together in love and unity.
Home schooling, not being a favorite subject of our school superintendent, we began to anticipate many problems…
…with our alternative to educating our children. At that point we knew the Lord would truly go ahead of us and prepare the way for His will to be done. With the confidence of our sovereign Lord and the valuable advice of Chris Klicka and HSLDA, we began to realize over a period of time that miracles do come from prayer and trusting Jesus for who He is! Ultimately we received approval totally hassle free. The Lord in His awesome wisdom and faithfulness indeed directed the way for F.A.I.T.H. in North Brookfield. We came to realize very early in our home-schooling endeavor that if God (and HSLDA) were for us who could be against us?
Since three of us were using the KONOS curriculum and our town library was somewhat limited, we decided to approach our elementary school in October to ask permission to use the school library to supplement our curriculum. Surprisingly, this ultimately set off four months of attention and debate centered around the issue of home schooling within our little town of 4,500.
When we contacted the elementary school principal about using the library, she and the librarian seemed to have no problem with our request. Believing we simply needed to get the details worked out, we were very surprised to receive a phone call from the superintendent calling a meeting to discuss the matter. At that point we knew something hadn't gone well with the idea of the home schoolers coming back to use the school facilities. From his opening remark at our meeting, reminding us that we chose to take our children out, we knew this was going to be a battle of dominion.
After the first school committee meeting where he rejected our proposal, the next morning found the whole town buzzing with the controversy over the library question. The Worcester Telegram had given front page coverage to the issue of “discrimination” against the home schoolers.
People we didn't even know were calling and telling us to get up a petition…
…and fight the superintendent—something totally unheard of in the past! They wrote editorials and letters on our behalf, asking the school committee to be more open-minded to our cause.
At that time we were prepared to accept the committee's decision and let matters go. However, the following school committee meeting one month later proved very interesting. Although we had decided not to pursue the matter, the superintendent had already prepared his argument against us. It included a proposal introducing a new library usage fee of $12.50 an hour to all unenrolled students using his library. He based his argument on the range of possibilities from our children “spreading disease” (due to a possible lack of immunization) during school hours to the potential difficulty of having students on school grounds who were “unfamiliar” with the “method of behavior” in the public school environment. (Perhaps he should read some statistics comparing disciplined behavior of home schoolers with their public school counterparts.)
The town and press were outraged again at his insensitive treatment of taxpaying citizens…
…and what they perceived as a lack of legal basis on which to discriminate. School committee members (with the exception of one) expressed their negative preconceptions concerning home schooling, making that the issue rather than focusing on the point in question. They completely ignored the fact that their previous policy on using school facilities had already been stated that it was to be open to the entire community.
The townspeople weren't about to let the issue die. At the last meeting where the debate took over two hours, an expression of true support for liberty and respect for other's choices in alternative education was evident in the increased attendance and many voiced opinions.
It seemed the Lord had really opened the door to bring the home education issue out in the open…
…here in North Brookfield and cast aside the many misunderstandings surrounding it. The meeting ended with the school board requiring the superintendent to meet with us before the next meeting to work out a viable solution to allow us usage of the library. Our meeting with him went very well, and we were able to arrive at a more than fair solution. We now use the library every Thursday after school.
Due to the attention home schooling received from all this, the local paper decided it was a good time to do a front page article on F.A.I.T.H. and home education in general. This also increased awareness among surrounding townspeople and sparked interest in what we are doing here.
We now look back in awe at what the Lord has done. This encounter has brought us support and respect while at the same time clearing up many misconceptions about home education. God is working overtime in Massachusetts, and the victory is certainly His!