Sunday, June 20, 2010

This is what happens when you let the State have too much control

Court accused of violating homeschooler's 'due process'

Full Disclosure: I don't think that homeschooling is necessarily a good thing in all cases, but I don't necessarily think that it is particularly bad.

But what struck me as odd in this case wasn't that a homeschooler's rights were being trampled (And there have been a few cases of persecution in the news the last few days), it's this excerpt:

He explained Harrold-Claesson, who had been assigned to the Johannson family by the court, was removed a short time after she tried to visit the school where social services agents have left Domenic.

HSLDA reported that unlike most Swedish lawyers, who are, in all cases, both appointed and paid for by the courts, Harrold-Claesson "aggressively and tenaciously fights an often uphill-battle against social services agencies, guardians ad litem and judges that just go along with the recommendations of social workers. She has taken a number of cases to the European Court of Human Rights."

So I'm going to point this out: THOSE WHO DON'T PAY FOR STUFF DON'T USUALLY GET A CHOICE IN HOW IT'S DELIVERED. To put it into shorthand and to quote my mother in the process, "Beggars can't be choosers".

I'm sure that the system works well in Sweden, that the State both assigns and pays for attorneys, but that doesn't mean that you are going to get the best representation possible, or even the representation that you deserve. I find it odd though, that their GOOD attorney was removed after a complaint by what I presume to be the opposing attorney. In any case, this couple wouldn't have known any better if they hadn't had the good forture to be assigned Ms. Harrold-Claesson in the first place.

That leads me to the original reason for the post:

A decision by officials in Sweden to remove a well-known human rights lawyer from a child custody case is being called a "stunning display of bureaucratic indifference and contempt of due process rights."

The declaration comes from the Home School Legal Defense Association in the case of Christer and Annie Johannson, whose son, Dominic, now 9, was taken forcibly by police last year because he was being homeschooled.

Dominic has been in state social services custody since then, allowed supervised visits with his parents for about one hour every five weeks.

So here's the low down - the parents start their child's educational year via homeschool with the intention of emigrating to India and continuing the child's education there. Swedish authorities seize the 9 year old child and force him into a school, allowing limited access to the parents. The parents attempt to get him back through the courts who appear to be throwing road blocks up in the parent's attempt to succeed.

This, folks, is why giving the State too much control is not a good idea. It's all about trust. When a government authority can not only seize a child for no apparent legal reason, but also use it's own legal system to hold the child, we have a problem. If you don't believe me, just ask the aboriginal population in Canada.

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