June 5, 2002

Massachusetts Home School Family Narrowly Escapes House Search and Removal of Children

Early this May, the Harris* family was enjoying the home schooling of their eight children as they had in years past. Little did they know how quickly their lives would be turned upside down.

Their nine year old daughter, who had a urinary track infection, was taken to the doctor's office by the mother. When they arrived at the doctor's office, a different doctor from the physician's group was there to examine their daughter. In the process of testing, the doctor noticed a slight bruise on the girl and immediately suspected the family of sexual abuse even though the parents explained that their daughter had fallen on a swing-set bar.

Without further examination, the doctor simply ushered the family out, announcing that she would be turning them in to the Health and Human Services Department. Since it was Friday evening, the family called Home School Legal Defense Association's emergency line. Senior counsel Chris Klicka gave initial counseling as to their rights if the police or social workers came.

Within an hour, attorney Klicka got a call back on the emergency line. The police and social workers were in fact at their door insisting entry and demanding to interrogate each of the children separately. Per counsel the family had already contacted a nearby doctor who was willing to give a second opinion. The family handed the phone out the door to the police officer. HSLDA secured a promise that they would not enter the house and that they would only talk to the parents, the daughter, and two of the older children.

The family had their pastor's wife come over to be with the children as they were interviewed. Three hours later, by God's grace, the case was closed without any further investigation since there was "no reasonable cause to support the allegations" that the child had been abused or neglected.

The family expressed their thankfulness in a letter to HSLDA:

"Thank you, thank you, thank you for all the work you do at HSLDA. Words cannot express how grateful we are for the availability, professional advice we received from you in regard to our recent ordeal with the DSS [Department of Social Services]. In a mere four hours, Satan seemingly turned our lives upside down, but the Lord is so good to have provided us with the support that was necessary to rise above and conquer the evil one's darts. We appreciate all the words of advice, legal and faith full, prayers, and all! God is victorious! Praise Him for this relieving outcome! We are glad and proud to be members of HSLDA and truly appreciate the efforts of all of you who work for the common values we share!"

*Name changed to protect the family's privacy.