Innocent Mom Jailed, Children Kidnapped by Police, for Homeschooling
Buffalo, NY – In a case that highlights the drastic overreach of the state into the private lives of citizens, single mother Kiarre Harris was arrested and her children thrown into foster care after she was charged with “educational neglect” for officially removing them from public school and enrolling them in a homeschooling program.
It’s now been three weeks since Harris has seen her children after their legalized kidnapping by the state.
“I felt that the district was failing my children and that’s when I made the decision to homeschool,” Harris told WKBW 7.
According to Harris, she began researching homeschooling last November, after deciding the failing Buffalo Public School system wasn’t providing her children with the necessary tools for a successful academic future.
Harris says she was methodical in filing documents at Buffalo City Hall, following all the necessary procedures, and informing the school district of her intention to homeschool her children.
Harris provided the officially stamped documents to WKBW, which verified the school district had received them on December 7.
“I spoke directly to the homeschool coordinator and she told me from this point on my children were officially un-enrolled from school,” said Harris.
Only a week after un-enrolling the children from public school, Child Protective Services (CPS) called Harris to inquire as to why her kids weren’t in school.
“I told them that my kids were homeschooled now and that I could furnish the documents if they need to see them,” Harris told WKBW.
Harris then went on with her regular homeschooling routine thinking everything was settled, but she was blissfully unaware of what was transpiring. Less than a month later Harris was confronted by police and CPS workers, who claimed they had a court order to take her children. When Harris told them they could not take her children she was arrested for obstruction of justice.
Buffalo Councilman Ulysees O. Wingo Sr. weighed in on the dubious actions of the state during a council meeting on Tuesday, noting that it is “utterly unacceptable” for a Buffalo mother to be arrested for “educational neglect” simply because she chose to homeschool her children.
“Someone, somewhere messed up, and that someone needs to face the music,” Wingo said at a Buffalo Common Council meeting on Tuesday. “This does not pass the smell test. This looks bad.”
“Did anyone from the school reach out to the mother? We don’t know. It’s very important for us to look at the details and get all of the details,” Wingo said.
Councilman Wingo has called on Family Court to return the children to their mother’s custody immediately, noting the absurd nature of taking children away from their mother’s care over a clerical error.
The Buffalo Public School District told WKBW that it cannot comment on this case due to Federal Laws, but went on to note that in order for a parent to file for homeschooling they must have full custody of the children. This, of course, should be a non-issue as Harris says she’s a single parent and has always had full custody until her kids were kidnapped by the state.
The reality is that persecution of homeschooling parents is common practice, and New York is infamous for attempting to criminalize homeschooling.
As we previously reported, NY resident Tanya Acevedo faced similar circumstances when she attempted to withdraw her children from public school and begin homeschooling. Acevedo withdrew her child from school this winter, filing all necessary paperwork required by the government. But that wasn’t enough to stave off a visit from CPS, who showed up at her residence unannounced to investigate allegations of “educational neglect.”
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