A state senator says a case of apparent child sex abuse in southeast Iowa involving a home schooling family highlights the need to reestablish some kind of oversight of home schoolers.
The education reform package that became law last year got rid of the requirement that home schooling parents register with their local school district. Senator Tom Courtney, a Democrat from Burlington, says that was the wrong move.
“We need to bring back the oversight that we had on home school kids,” Courtney says. “It shouldn’t hurt those in this state who are doing it right. It shouldn’t hurt them a bit. I would think they would be proud to have the state come in a say: ‘Boy, you’re really doing a good job here.'”
Courtney points to the recent arrest of 20-year-old Andrew Wells of Burlington, who told police he had sexually abused his siblings for years. Wells lived in a home where 10 children were being home schooled and his parents have been charged with child endangerment.
Senator Julian Garrett, a Republican from Indianola, says it’s “sad” Courtney is using “one isolated incident” to attack home schoolers around the state.
“That’s no more fair than to take incidents of abuse in the public school system and impugning the public school employees, but that happens,” Garrett says. “…We’ve just recently heard of a case in the City of Knoxville where a coach has been charged with abuse of one of the students.”
Thirty-three-year-old Troy Rider, Knoxville high school’s football coach, was recently charged with sexual exploitation by a school employee and sex abuse after a teenage girl and her parents reported a series of incidents to police.
Both Garrett and Courtney made their comments this morning during a period when senators are able to speak on any subject. Neither the Senate nor the House has debated any bills today.