The Texas Home School Coalition (THSC) recently publicized an ‘unlawful’ abuse of power by a Dallas County Judge, who ordered the forcible removal of seven children from the home of a Duncanville family this past November. The decision was made in an ex-parte hearing in which the parents were not represented or notified.
Prior to the removal order, an investigation was launched by CPS in which the parents were required to complete parenting classes and undergo a psychological evaluation. CPS found no evidence, nor made any allegations, that the children were suffering from abuse or neglect.
Under Texas Family Code, Chapter 262, removal from the home requires immediate threat of harm to children.
To the contrary, the Tutt family has demonstrated an admirable dedication to caring for children in search of a loving home. They spent several years as a licensed CPS foster home, adopted a child from CPS foster care, and currently serve with Safe Families, which works with at-risk families and neglected children.
According to certain officials, the Tutt’s are guilty of something far more treacherous…homeschooling.
During a court hearing in December, witnesses reported that CPS attorneys berated the family for not using a ‘state-certified home school curriculum’, in spite of the fact that it doesn’t actually exist. A guardian appointed by Judge Olvera conducted an ‘educational examination’ who concluded the children were not being properly educated, but rather ‘brainwashed’.
Witnesses also allege the guardian denigrated the Tutts for not submitting documentation of home schooling to the state, including state-mandated tests results. Not only does Texas state law not require such reporting, there is no process for doing so.
Despite lacking evidence, and without allegations of abuse, neglect or harm, the guardian recommended to the judge in a December hearing that the children remain in the care of CPS.
Olvera agreed, ordering that the children remain in foster care.
The rule of law is intended to protect individuals from the unruly judicial discretion from those who wield the coercive power of the state. Governments are explicitly instituted to protect our natural rights, not to usurp them without substantiated cause, or due process.
This tragic story should remind us of our duty to diligently promote and protect liberty for ourselves and our neighbors. That duty includes our participation in the election of all public officials, including judges, who understand the limits of power we jealously bestow upon them.