Waiting for the Rapture: Christian homeschoolers in Texas refuse to educate their nine children because they believe the Rapture is at hand.
Last year the Texas Eighth District Court of Appeals ruled that Christian homeschooling parents Laura and Michael McIntyre were not exempt from state education regulations after they refused to educate their nine children because they believed they would soon be transported to heaven with the second coming of Jesus Christ.
However, the McIntyres are appealing that ruling, and the Texas Supreme Court will soon decide whether religious parents have an obligation to ensure their children actually learn educational basics like reading, writing, and mathematics.
Religion Clause reports the McIntyres are challenging the right of the state to investigate the curriculum which they utilized. In court filings, the McIntyres say the district is biased against Christians and accuse its officials of mounting a “startling assertion of sweeping governmental power.”
Michael McIntyre and Laura McIntyre removed their nine children from a private school in 2004 to homeschool them. According to reports the McIntyre children did little school work, and that one of the children said they did not need to because they were going to be raptured.
Another one of the children ran away at age 17 so she could attend school, the parents refused to provide the school district with any information.
In 2006, El Paso Independent School District met with the parents about an anonymous complaint that the children were not being educated. District attendance officer Mark Mendoza later confirmed that one of the daughters, Tori, had run away from home to “attend school,” and was enrolled at Coronado High School.
Responding to the case, Rachel Coleman, executive director of the Massachusetts-based Coalition for Responsible Home Education, said:
Parents should be allowed to decide how to educate their children, not whether to educate their children.
The previous Texas Eighth District Court of Appeals ruling states:
No parents have ever prevailed in any reported case on a theory that they have an absolute constitutional right to educate their children in the home, completely free of any state supervision, regulation, or requirements. They do not have an ‘absolute constitutional right to homeschool.’
Let’s hope the Texas Supreme Court upholds the previous Texas Eighth District Court of Appeals ruling.
It is unclear how many other children are suffering a similar fate across the nation, but one thing is certain: Children are not property – they have rights. All children are entitled to an education. Homeschoolers should be monitored and regulated to prevent the kind of abuse and neglect the McIntyre children suffered.
Bottom line: To deny a child an education is child abuse, full stop.
(Portions of this article were previously published here.)