This is not a homeschooling issue

17 06 2008

Death investigations prompt homeschooling recommendations

Raleigh, N.C. — A state task force that reviewed the death of a 4-year-old boy at the hands of his adoptive mother recommended more oversight for children taught at home.

The Department of Social Services report on Sean Paddock’s death was released last week, hours after the boy’s adoptive mother, Lynn Paddock, was convicted of first-degree murder and felony child abuse in his February 2006 death.

The report called for more state monitoring of home schools, including having medical examiners track the school status of children who die under suspicious circumstances.

The six surviving Paddock children testified during the three-week trial that Lynn Paddock homeschooled them after the family moved to Smithfield in 2001, but that the instruction gradually devolved into reading the Bible and copying scripture passages. Several of the children, who have moved to new families, are now a grade or two behind their peers.

Sean Paddock was 4, and under the age of compulsory attendance. How many public school children are still abused in NC? Does public schooling prevent it? I’m betting not. How many public school children in NC are “a grade or two” behind? I’m betting at least 25%, the national average. That’s probably equal to the “several” Paddock children.

Would educational oversight have saved Sean Paddock? What really killed him?


Paddock also broke down on the witness stand as she recounted being raised by an abusive mother who drank and took pills.

“There was this big, very heavy PVC pipe that was also flexible, and that’s what she used to discipline us,” she said, adding that she was later placed in a foster home.

After trying unsuccessfully to get pregnant, Paddock said, she became interested in adoption upon learning that Dave Thomas, the founder of the Wendy’s fast-food chain, encouraged people to adopt older children.

She and her then-husband, Johnny Paddock, adopted six children between the mid-1990s and 2005, when Sean and his biological brother and sister were placed with the family.

Lynn Paddock testified that some of her adopted children came to the couple with emotional issues and that other families didn’t want them.

So, the state of NC let an abused adult adopt 6 emotionally fragile children and then discontinued any oversight of those children. How would homeschooling oversight (a state agency) protect against the bad judgement of another state agency?

Deborah Artis, a regional director with the Children’s Home Society who worked with Johnny and Lynn Paddock to adopt the children, testified Monday as the first defense witness that four of the adopted children had some emotional problems prior to being adopted.

Artis said she never physically inspected six children placed with a Johnston County couple because the children seemed to be adjusting well to their new surroundings. The adoption agency performs criminal background checks on prospective adoptive parents and offers them parenting classes, she said.

And then there’s Michael Pearl, what a gem and role model.

Lynn Paddock said she and her husband decided to use discipline techniques espoused by the Rev. Michael Pearl, an evangelical minister from Tennessee who publishes books and articles on rearing submissive children. She said swatting children with flexible plastic rods was preferred to spanking because it was less demeaning.

“We liked Michael Pearl’s (system) because it was quick (and) it didn’t demean the child and bring their self-esteem down,” she said.

Michael Pearl should be convicted for murder, right along with Lynn.

And her asshole of a husband.

She described herself as a submissive wife and said she assumed the role of disciplinarian in the Paddock home because Johnny Paddock once got too angry while disciplining one of the children. Her ex-husband helped her purchase the flexible rods, she said.

Johnny Paddock hasn’t been charged in the case, and he said he was willing to testify against his ex-wife, whom he divorced last year while she was in jail awaiting trial

During testimony, Johnny Paddock denied involvment.
(From The News Observer:)

In an aside, Jenkins also condemned Paddock’s former husband, Johnny Paddock, who was not charged in the case.

Johnny Paddock “does not qualify as a parent in any sense of the word,” Jenkins said. As for Johnny Paddock’s claim that he was unaware of the violence in the home, Jenkins proclaimed, “Nonsense!”

When asked outside the courtroom today why Johnny Paddock was not charged, Prosecutor Paul Jackson said, “We can only make a decision based on evidence, not on speculation.”

There’s no need for more oversight to homeschoolers. Homeschooling didn’t kill Sean Paddock, an emotionally unstable Lynn Paddock kiled Sean, helped by Johnny Paddock, Michael Pearl and the State of NC. Michael Pearl and those responsible for allowing this family to adopt should be convicted right along with Lynn Paddock. If a state agency, responsible for placing and providing for the well being of adopted children doesn’t investigate the background of potential parents, or provide the necessary support after an adoption, why would MORE oversight by yet another state agency be proposed to combat child abuse?

Go after those who train parents to abuse. Go after Michael Pearl.

And stop beating your kids in the name of Jesus. Jesus wouldn’t want you to whip your child with a pipe, tie him to a tree, or beat the demons out of him on a county road.



29 responses to “This is not a homeschooling issue”

17 06 2008
Maria (07:15:55) :

What she said.

17 06 2008
Heather H (10:00:46) :

I have been reading your blog for a short time after reading that your blog is the only one that Pioneer WOman reads with any regularity. Raised in a VERY abusive household, I left home the middle of my senior year of high school after I turned 18 (and wouldn’t be deemed a runaway). The battered woman’s shelter allowed me to stay past the usual 45 days in order to finish high school and its been 7 years since i have spoken to my parents. It makes me overjoyed that their are poeple out there like yourself who stand up for abused children and aren’t afraid to speak their minds. Living in Montana, I think we have a lot of people who still have the older mentality of spare the rod and spoil the child. I just wish there were more of you around. Your blog has lifted my spirits today.

Thanks, Heather

17 06 2008
Katherine (11:03:15) :

Hey Doc,
Since I am in NC I have been following this for months. Way back when the Lynn Paddock said she was a follower of the Pearls, I almost brought this to your attention. But I didn’t want bring down your day with such an ugly story.

Beyond appalling. And way beyond the purview of homeschool. Funding for mental health care, anyone?

Love, Katherine

17 06 2008
Doc (11:25:39) :

I saw your rant.

We can spend billions on war, but zilch on health care. I couldn’t agree more.

17 06 2008
tysdaddy (12:58:12) :

We homeschooled for several years in the state of Indiana. At that time, there was very little in the way of “oversight.” As long as we kept track of the # of days we “held class” and it met the state’s mandate of 180 days, then we were cool. The kids weren’t required to take any of the standardized tests (ISTEP, NWEA, etc.). And from talking with my wife, who knows much more about this for she’s kept up with it, there are still very few regulations.

Does abuse happens? I’m sure it does. Is the answer more oversight? Hardly.

You make some valid points from a position of experience. I’m sending your blog link to my wife. She’ll have an opinion, I’m sure . . .

And Rev. Pearl is an idiot . . .


17 06 2008
booples (13:25:20) :

Hi! I’m Tysdaddy’s wife and do have an opinion on this! I do agree with you! You are right homeschooling didn’t kill this little boy.

Unfortunately tho – when ONE idiot claims homeschooling when what they are doing doesn’t NEARLY qualify and abuses their children to boot – the ones that suffer are those that are doing it right.

Then there are those that will call for more regulation – to “spare those that might be suffering abuse.” The problem with that is that THIS particular child would have still suffered and died. He was not of complusory age! Now had his older siblings been in school – MAYBE, just MAYBE they would have been able to speak out about the abuses they were suffering at home adn someone would have been able to do something about it – BUT with the size of many schools classrooms now days and simply out of fear it is likely that not much would have been done. BUT there is NO need for further regulation.

But you are right – this is not homeschooling issue, but an issue of incompentent parenting and oversight of those who allowed the adoption in the first place.



17 06 2008
booples (13:26:25) :

Oh and don’t get me started on Mr. Pearl.

17 06 2008
Lori (13:45:54) :

The first thing I thought is “How is homeschooling to blame for murder?” It’s not.

And, secondly, the foster programs in this country, from which these kids came is irretrievably broken. There is inadequate oversight (and possibly no oversight at all, in the case of my foster children) of foster kids when they are IN the system, much less there be any support post-adoption. But, that’s a sissy-pants social program, so there is never enough money to staff, train, or operate it where it should be.

17 06 2008
Jamie (16:58:15) :

I completely agree.

17 06 2008
christine (17:12:24) :

This whole blaming-homeschool-for-abuse/murder stuff is SOOOOOOO irking me.

I am currently parenting two children who were adopted (UGH!) two years ago into an abusive home. They homeschooled all their kids. However, mom couldn’t stand dealing with the ESL issues, so they went to PS just two weeks after the adoption. They were physically and emotionally abused for TWO years while attending church and PS. The state removed them at one point, but they were back in the home within months.

I would like to get my hands on the person that did this family’s homestudy. I’ve got a few things to … er … say!

Abusers do not need the privacy of homeschooling to keep abusing. They become very skilled at frightening the bajeebiz out of their children, and those children believe the threats. They live in constant fear and keep their sweet little mouths shut. These kids know that they can tell a teacher, but without some big physical proof, they still have to go back home until its all settled and figured out … back to their abuser … an abuser that now knows the kid told.

Some abusers just HAPPEN to be homeschoolers. People don’t need to homeschool to keep their abuse quiet.

Sorry … didn’t mean to go off. Little touchy about this lately and this just stoked my fire!!

17 06 2008
FormerlyFun (18:41:34) :

I really think the greatest tragedy is giving children to people not able to take care of them. Raising a child with emotional issues is difficult enough if you are balanced, self-aware and knowledgable enough to avail yourself of the resources available.

I know some states still restrict adoption for same-sex couples or singles. It’s so sad how many great people are effectively socially discouraged from adopting.

On a happier note:
Del Martin and Phyllis Lyon-this is a good thing

17 06 2008
Country Wife (20:21:13) :

She said swatting children with flexible plastic rods was preferred to spanking because it was less demeaning.

Um? I’m not too up on the whole Pearl thing, but isn’t swatting with a rod the same as spanking?

I wholeheartedly agree that this is NOT NOT NOT a homeschooling issue. But it seems that any time a ‘homeschooler’ causes trouble, that suddenly becomes the focus. If the ‘parents’ of this little guy had sent the rest of the kids to ps, you wouldn’t be reading a headline about how more oversight is needed in ps.

18 06 2008
Mom Is Teaching » Blog Archive » Quick Hits (09:27:15) :

[…] This is not a homeschooling issue A woman who was raised in an abusive home grows to become a mother who abuses her children as well. Big surprise, right? Don’t we already know that often abuse is a cycle? And yet, still, homeschooling is to be blamed for the death of the 4 year old boy. Doc points out who is really to blame here. […]

18 06 2008
Carol (12:36:28) :

I agree with your comments. As the parent of a happy and successful child in the public school system, I will continue to say there are many ways to provide a good education and there are many ways to fail in both public or private education. Nonetheless, this was not even remotely a homeschooling issue.

18 06 2008
Because we all need a good laugh this week. « Like I Have Time For This? (18:18:49) :

[…] for all the hype about the “homeschooled” kid who died this week, go here and here for details and opinions. I’m all: Yeah, what THEY […]

18 06 2008
TulipGirl (18:45:48) :

Dare I say. . . Preach it, Doc!

18 06 2008
Audrey (19:05:52) :

I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again… religious abuse needs to be stepped down on, and hard. Religionists cry about their “freedoms,” yet preach abuse of children (among other violent diatribes) all based upon their particular “understanding” of a piece of poorly written fiction. Religious “freedom” should never be an exemption from the law. Abuse is abuse. Those who preach it should be locked up accordingly.

19 06 2008
Angel (06:30:00) :

This pisses me off, and I’m not even a homeschooler. Someone is always looking for the easy way out of a situation, and blaming homeschooling is much easier than revamping our foster/adoption systems. It gets to me so badly because the normal healthy people who want to adopt or become foster parents have to jump through hoops of fire first and many times get turned down even then! While morons like this get emotionally unstable children to demean and destroy with no questions asked.

You’re right. They should all be charged in this case.

19 06 2008
Can you really oversee every moment of a child’s life? « “Hi, I’m (insert name).” (08:20:52) :

[…] 19, 2008 Check out Doc’s Sunrise Rants for the latest scoop on homeschool […]

19 06 2008
Karisma (10:14:05) :

OOOOH It just makes my blood boil! And its scary how they get away with it too. Just this morning on the news here there was a mother and father who let their 18 month old twins starve to death. They had been dead nine days before she alerted the authorities.

19 06 2008
Carol (17:59:59) :

Has anyone kept track of how many of these poor kids the have been killed have been from “religious” families? Seems to me a lot were?

20 06 2008
Moses (06:46:34) :

Personally I think most religions, as practiced, are a form of abuse. The whole premise is to brainwash you into magical thinking which, in turn, can lead to disaster. Teenager dies due to his faith healing beliefs. Which, frankly, he didn’t pick up in a vacuum.

20 06 2008
Doc (06:56:09) :

That’s a “local story” and I was going to comment in a post, but I see you did a good job. Something to add that prosecutors are looking at – it’s likely the boy fell into a coma in the hours (or days) before his death, making his decisions mute – the thought it, sure, at his age, under Oregon law, he can refuse medical treatment, but once he was no longer able to make decisions, his parents should have taken the responsibility to get him medical treatment, because there’s no way to know whether or not he’d have changed his mind. It’s a mess – this is the third child in Oregon to die since the beginning of the year due to “faith healing”.

20 06 2008
Nance Confer (08:22:22) :

She said swatting children with flexible plastic rods was preferred to spanking because it was less demeaning.

Um? I’m not too up on the whole Pearl thing, but isn’t swatting with a rod the same as spanking?


Well, I’d call one spanking and one beating.

I’d call both abuse.


20 06 2008
Cara (12:08:04) :

About home-schooling — I think it is okay, IF the “parent/instructor” is given academic testing FIRST, to see if they qualify to teach their children. I do think there should be routine testing of the children, possibly the parents too. Perhaps even psychological testing for the potential parent doing the homeschooling. My concern is that there are a lot of parents unqualified academically themselves, much less capable of teaching their children.

I also wonder if homeschooled children aren’t less socially adept as they grow up, and what they might miss by simply not mingling with their peers through their childhood years. The issue of hidden abuse is certainly important too; any time you shield children from an outside environment, it’s a potential abuser’s avenue to remaining unknown.

I come from an alcoholic/abusive homelife, and believe me, I LOVED public school. It was the time I could get away from the nightmares of homelife and made me realize our living situation was highly abnormal. While abuse certainly takes place even in homes where children are in public schools, at least the children have time AWAY from that environment — and in today’s more open willingness to report and investigate abuse, it could save lives.

20 06 2008
JJ Ross (14:08:05) :

Cara, some children don’t live long enough to start school to escape abuse and why would we make them wait anyway? The sad scoail reality is that it would help more, make more sense, to focus on stopping those who abuse screaming babies and potty-training toddlers — execution would do the trick on a case-by-case basic and if I would ever support zero tolerance laws, it would be for THAT.

Also stopping all abusive stepfathers and other men in the home at any age. None of which has anything to do with academics for the child but a whole lot to do with what the adults never learned to do better than.

It seems to me compulsory school for PARENTS would stand a better chance of making kids’ lives better — but of course if schooling failed to educate and improve them as human beingsfor all their own formative years (and it did, apparently!) then why would it be any more likely to fix them after they’re scarred adults?

The answer is that academic schooling isn’t the answer to helping anybody learn to live well, not for babies or toddlers or teens or prospective parents or creepy uncles or grandmothers. Certainly not for anyone who would beat a baby, terrorize a toddler or otherwise hurt a child.

20 06 2008
Doc (14:40:06) :

Cara’s ignorance was just too juicy to ignore – and I’ve already ignored plenty the past few days. See next blog entry.

20 06 2008
JJ Ross (16:35:32) :

Shoulda figured you had it covered, Doc . . .

21 10 2008
arthur (07:06:46) :

I was adopted from the NC Children’s Home Society -1972. Now, being told to feel and feeling are very different. As not to offend and shock, for 8 years I was a victim of incest by a grandparent. In a more modern time it would have been picked up on and dealt with.

The NC Children’s Home Society has post adoption services. Oh, so promising their letters of aid, they wanted to help me. “What type of trauma support can we offer you?”, said the post adoption counselor. The foundation of lies began to crumble. “No, I said” or “I meant to say. Now, all I asked for was to please give a advocate. Surely, they had one or knew one. The agency sent me the Rape Crisis Center in my county. I am a male.

Once, It was clear all communications were off, the next day, yes, she called. We were to have lunch and get to know each other. Gifts of memorabilia were promised. The post-adoption promised even Mr. Tutterow, President and CEO. Swimming on the bottom gets old and unproductive and cut through the bull and I headed for the president. Like the sunrise, suddenly, the worker said, “Oh, I did? say the president was coming?”. “well, no I did not mean that.”
So to break it down 1 man and 1 woman, both enemies. Lunching, in a small town? Nope and even before that final blow, my interest were best served not going.

The NC Children’s Home Society, from my life experience, sounds wonderful and a candy land of tots. Sadly, Sean Paddock, damaged their armour. The newsletters, just perfect and so heart wrenching. Beware, if it looks to good to be true it usually can be the case. My sister, also incest victim, went “crazy”. My parents, they begged for help, local mental health, ah really.

The Children’s Home Society, who are they? It is like a baby mafia. It is not the agency as a single factor in my condition. However, we recycle these days and every box has sign. “Adult Victim Of Incest”, is not among them.

From the Children’s Home Society, “Adoption is a lifelong experience and supportive and are available to all those involved”

Hey and Thanks for the rant!


Read the policies page before commenting

You can use these tags : <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <s> <strike> <strong>