27 February 2010

Home education: a scapegoat for abuse

Yesterday’s Daily Mail reports the case of a girl of seven beaten and starved to death, in spite of the involvement of social services and the Education Department. “Beyond belief ... how 9 officials let a girl of 7 starve to death in a modern British city”*. As usual, instead of concluding that the entire philosophy behind ‘child protection’ is flawed, it is implied that the answer is to have even more intervention.

Because the girl was supposedly being educated at home, the finger is being pointed at the loophole whereby parents may choose to exclude their child from the state education system if they think the child would do better being taught at home.

Just because a child is forced to attend a state school does not mean anyone is going to notice more readily that it is being abused at home. People seem to be very good at ignoring the signs of real abuse, whether they are paid to notice them or not. This, one may think, is because people have no real motivation to prevent suffering, although they may have some to enjoy inflicting it. Paying them money and giving them powers of intrusion into other people’s lives does not affect their underlying motivation, and one may think that this is the real cause of the ineptitude of the collectivist ‘services’. There is no reason to think that providing them with even more money and powers of intrusion and interference will produce any more beneficial results.

Also, there is no reason to think that enforced attendance at a school would assist with the process of preventing real abuse from taking place. The girl did attend school for a while, and some concerns were raised when she was found stealing food from another pupil’s bag, but they did not result in any useful action. No doubt, however, a case such as this will be used as ammunition for eroding still further the liberty of the individual.

*Daily Mail, 26 February 2010.