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May 2, 2006

Father Accused of 'Counting Bread Slices'

The Schonfeld family called the Home School Legal Defense Association when an emergency situation developed at their front door.

An anonymous tipster had called the Austin division of the Texas Department of Family and Protective Services, claiming that Mr. Schonfeld was paranoid and "counted the slices of bread in the house to make sure that none of the children were sneaking food" and that the children were emotionally abused because they were isolated from other children.

HSLDA Senior Counsel Chris Klicka took the emergency call and talked with the social worker while she was still at the Schonfeld residence. Klicka explained the Fourth Amendment rights of the family to the social worker and told her that the family was going to stand on these rights. Consequently, the family refused to allow the social worker to enter the home and interview the children.

The parents explained to the social worker, outside their house, that the children were not isolated, describing the many social activities they were in and even showing pictures from a recent trip.

Klicka followed up with a letter emphasizing the outrageousness of the claim that the father was paranoid to the extent of counting slices of bread. Klicka's rebuttal demonstrates the falseness of the allegations and takes away the credibility of the tipster.

The Schonfelds received no additional contact from social services after Klicka sent the social worker a letter demonstrating the family's innocence and explaining their Fourth Amendment rights. The family also provided references vouching for the good child training and sufficient socialization the family receives.

Sixty days later they received a letter that the allegations were "unsubstantiated."

 Other Resources

The Social Worker At Your Door: 10 Helpful Hints (HSLDA members only document)