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Massachusetts

June 10, 2009
‘One Bruise Too Many’ Says Pediatrician

An HSLDA member family was told that because their son had too many bruises a report would have to be filed with Child Protective Services.

Mrs. Smith (name changed to protect privacy) was on her way downstairs to turn on a heater so that her children would be more comfortable while playing in the basement when she heard a series of noises. She turned around just in time to see her 2-year-old hit the bottom stair after falling down. Mrs. Smith attended to her son’s needs, wiped away his tears and examined him to make sure there weren’t any serious problems. Later that day she noticed that her son seemed to be tripping over everything on the floor.

When he fell again while playing with a rocking horse, she decided to take him to a pediatrician just to make sure everything was okay. While there were no injuries, the pediatrician did notice three fading bruises on the child’s back. This pediatrician told the Smiths that since this was past the “limit” of acceptable bruises, he was required to file a report with Child Protective Services.

The Smiths contacted Home School Legal Defense Association, who advised them on how to interact with the responding social worker and how they could hasten the investigation to a close.

HSLDA Social Services Contact Policy

We desire to advise our members in every contact with a social worker and/or police officer in investigations resulting from allegations of abuse or neglect. If homeschooling is an issue, we will represent our member families until the issue is resolved. On Fourth Amendment unreasonable search and seizure issues, HSLDA will advise our members whenever the privacy of their home is violated by forced or coerced entry for the purpose of an unsubstantiated investigation. HSLDA membership benefits do not extend to court actions resulting from non-homeschooling matters. However, in circumstances where there is a clear violation of the Fourth Amendment, HSLDA may, as we have done in the past, choose to take the case in an effort to establish legal precedent.