A commission set up by Connecticut Governor Daniel Malloy in response to the shooting at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, CT determined that more scrutiny of homeschoolers is needed. Adam Lanza, the 20-year-old who murdered 20 children and six adults in December of 2012, was homeschooled by his mother Nancy Lanza starting in 10th Grade. Adam Lanza shot his mother to death the morning of the Sandy Hook Elementary School shooting.
The Sandy Hook Advisory Commission (SHAC) is made up of 16 educators, local and state officials, and behavioral experts. CTPost.com reports:
Under the proposal, home-schooled children with behavioral and emotional disabilities would have to have individualized education plans approved by the special education director of the local public school district. Allowing for the continued home-schooling of such children would be predicated on the individualized plans and “adequate progress” documented in mandatory annual reports.
“Given the individuals involved in the tragedy that formed the basis of this commission, I think we have thought this issue out at some length and we believe it is very germane and that the actual facts leading up to this incident support the notion of the risk in not addressing social and emotional learning needs of children who may have significant needs in that area who are home-schooled,” said commissioner member Dr. Harold I. Schwartz, psychiatrist-in-chief at Hartford Hospital’s Institute of Living.
Here again we are have a security vs. liberty debate. How much liberty are you willing to give up (or take away) in order to “feel secure”? Considering this commission has been tasked with considering solutions that are not kneejerk reactions to the shooting it is disappointing they made this proposal. As far as I know this is the only school shooting precipitated by a homeschooling student. The rest have been by public school students, most of whom attended the school they attacked.
So to use this tragedy as a means to propose restricting the rights of parents to home education their kids is appalling and frankly illogical. Does anyone really believe that had Lanza finished out high school in the public school the Sandy Hook shooting would not have happened? If so how do they explain all of the other shootings?
Homeschool students should not be subject to mental health screenings (neither should public school students) unless it is at the behest of the parent in consultation with their own personal physician. This is not the role of the school district.
Now I have to wonder if anyone on this commission entertained the idea of allowing school personnel to protect themselves and the kids they serve through arming and training teachers and/or school staff? That would actually make sense. “Gun free zones” just mean “easy targets” for those bent on killing people.
Fortunately this is only a draft proposal at the moment. If it does appear in the final report the Connecticut Legislature would have to pass it into law. Let’s hope Connecticut’s state legislators have more common sense than that.