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Homeschooling Surges in Wake of School Shootings

Experts say the recent spate of school shootings has caused a surge in the number of parents who are saying, “Enough is enough!” and are withdrawing their children from the public school system to educate them in the safety of their own homes.

The Washington Times is reporting on the sudden uptick of interest in home schooling that has been occurring in the wake of two bloody school shootings, in Parkland, Florida and Santa Fe, Texas, that left a combined total of 27 people dead in the last three months.

According to the Texas Home School Coalition, the shootings have caused their phones to to ring off the hook.

“When the Parkland shooting happened, our phone calls and emails exploded,” said Coalition president Tim Lambert. “In the last couple of months, our numbers have doubled. We’re dealing with probably between 1,200 and 1,400 calls and emails per month, and prior to that it was 600 to 700.”

The same phenomenon has been occurring in Louisiana where Christopher Chin, president of Homeschool Louisiana, says parents concerned about the violence, the bullying, and the generally unsafe environments of U.S. public schools are turning to homeschooling in increasing numbers.

“One of the things we’ve seen definitely an uptick in the last five years is the aspect of violence. It’s the bullying. That is off the charts,” Mr. Chin said.

Although a mass shooting might not be enough to change a parent’s mind about where and how to school their children, it is proving to be a factor that is pushing those parents who are leaning toward home education.

“I think what happens with these school shootings is they’re the straws that broke the camel’s back,” Mr. Chin said. “I don’t think it’s the major decision-maker, but it’s in the back of parents’ minds.”

Brian D. Ray, president of the National Home Education Research Institute in Salem, Oregon, told the Times that school safety has increasingly become an issue for parents looking at teaching their kids at home.

He lists the top three reasons for homeschooling to be: 1) a desire to provide religious instruction or different values than those offered in public schools; 2) dissatisfaction with the academic curriculum, and; 3) worries about school environment.

“Most parents homeschool for more than one reason,” Mr. Ray said. “But when we ask families why do they homeschool, near the top nowadays is concern about the environment of schools, and that includes safety, pressure to get into drugs, pressure to get into sexual activity. It includes all of that.”

As a result, homeschooling numbers have been on the increase for years. Although not all states require a headcount of children being schooled at home, which precludes a truly accurate count, homeschooling numbers have ballooned from 1.5 million in 2012 to about 2.3 million in 2016.

In fact, according to the Family Research Council (FRC), in some states, like North Carolina, the number of kids in home schools is actually growing faster than private school enrollment.

“At least at home, parents can take back the control that schools are stealing from them. Of course, not everyone is happy about the shift -- least of all Big Government bureaucrats, who are worried they're losing their grip on students,” the FRC writes.

This includes local school districts, who lose a significant chunk of funding with each departing student.

“But what are moms and dads to do when the place they send their kids to learn is punishing their religion, denying them privacy, and forcing them to sit through sex ed curriculums so pornographic you couldn't read it on the evening news?” the FRC asks.

Several years ago, when President Obama’s Department of Education sent the now infamous “Dear Colleague” letter to schools which essentially forced them to open bathrooms and locker rooms to kids of both genders, Texas Lt. Gov. Dan Patrick prophetically warned that this new policy would “be the end of public education, if this prevails. People will pull their kids out, homeschooling will explode, and private schools will increase."

Judging by the numbers, Patrick’s prediction was right on the mark.

But that doesn’t necessarily mean a rosy future for our nation’s homeschoolers.

“As usual, as the number of homeschoolers grow, so do the legislative threats,” the FRC warns. “States like California would like nothing better than to clamp down on the families who want to take full responsibility for their children's education.

“Parents, state legislators and groups like the Homeschool Legal Defense Association need to be on their toes, as liberals try to fight back with tighter restrictions and more regulations on homeschoolers," they advise.

"In the meantime, maybe more school districts will get the message: If they stop being hostile to most Americans' values, fewer parents would be running for the exits.”

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