Home schoolers routinely hear horror stories about families whose lives are disrupted by intrusive social workers. All too many families have experienced the invasion first-hand. One family in Maryland was able to fight back, and now has the Department of Social Services (DSS) on the run!
The “Talbot” family (not their real name)* realized the public school was failing to serve their oldest child. He, like their other children, was an adopted child with special needs. They tried to work within the public school system, with no success. They finally resolved to home school him, and notified the school that he would not be returning the next fall.
The boy was called into the school psychiatrist’s office, and asked many questions. When they asked him what frightened him, he answered, “Monsters, lightning, and being locked in the dog cage.” With no further evidence, the school launched a child abuse investigation, claiming that he had been locked in the dog cage.
Two social workers came to the home, banging on the door until Mrs. Talbot feared the glass would break. They shouted that if she did not let them in they would get the police and break the door down. Mrs. Talbot tried to go out onto the porch with them, but they bulldozed past her when she opened the door, demanding to see the dog cage. Stunned by these Gestapo tactics, she led them to the old wire dog cage on the back porch. It was clearly too flimsy to hold the boy against his will, and she assured them that the boy had never been locked in the cage. (He had once seen a movie where a child was locked in a cage.)
Instead of leaving, the social workers began searching the entire home. By now the mother had regained her wits and her courage. She called her husband. “Do you have a warrant?” he demanded, over the phone. The social worker responded that she did not need one because she was on official business. “You do so need a warrant!” he shouted. It didn’t matter anyway, she answered, since Mrs. Talbot had “voluntarily” let her in. The father expressly ordered her out of the house. She hung up on him and continued her search.
The dog cage was clearly out, so the social workers needed new evidence to keep their case alive. They found it-neatly folded laundry, in little piles, going up the steps toward the bedrooms. They cited the family for “fire hazard” and “clutter” and announced that they would return, without warning, for “spot checks” at any time.
The next months were a nightmare. An acquaintance within DSS told the Talbots that they should sign up for the “services” that were being “offered.” “The school is behind all this,” he told them. Certain people in the school, he said, were determined to get the children into special education, and would use DSS to make it happen. The Talbots refused to give in, choosing instead to flee their home.
Incredibly enough, the social worker attempted to switch to their new county, offering to accept a 50% pay cut if she could stay on the Talbot case. The new county turned her down, however, and DSS soon closed out the Talbot investigation as “unsubstantiated.”
Now it was the Talbots’ turn. They were lucky enough to find Edwin Viera, Esq., a lawyer who has spent years learning the legal tricks that social workers use in their own defense. He filed an extraordinary complaint with the Federal District Court. DSS moved to dismiss the case because “it failed to state a claim.” The judge struck down this motion, caustically noting that the complaint “spans more than ninety pages, with allegations of operative facts filling fifty-five of those pages.” The judge in the “Talbot” case held that a social worker may properly be sued for civil rights violations like these.
So, next time a social worker comes to your door, let them know that they had better have a warrant, or a good lawyer. Even social workers have to obey the U.S. Constitution!
*The Talbots are not members of HSLDA.