A court case involving a Texas Christian homeschool family has made national news because the parents allegedly have refused to educate their children in view of an imminent “rapture.” Liberal activist news outlets across the country have joined in universal chorus condemning lax homeschooling regulations and suggesting the pending Texas Supreme Court case will lead to a crackdown on homeschooling throughout the nation.
There’s only one problem. It’s all lies.
Every bit of it.
The story popped into my social media existence the other day when someone suggested I should comment on the effects of premillennial eschatology upon the family’s alleged actions. That would certainly be proper if it were true (and it may be, but no one knows for sure), but delving into the case history reveals that the liberal activists’ rabid attack on Christian homeschooling is the important focus here.
For example, the Associated Press (uncritically cut-and-pasted by a local media outlet) spun the story this way:
Laura McIntyre began educating her nine children more than a decade ago inside a vacant office at an El Paso motorcycle dealership she ran with her husband and other relatives.
Now the family is embroiled in a legal battle the Texas Supreme Court hears next week that could have broad implications on the nation’s booming home-school ranks. The McIntyres are accused of failing to teach their children educational basics because they were waiting to be transported to heaven with the second coming of Jesus Christ.
At issue: Where do religious liberty and parental rights to educate one’s own children stop and obligations to ensure home-schooled students ever actually learn something begin? . . .
Like other Texas home-school families, Laura and her husband Michael McIntyre weren’t required to register with state or local educational officials. They also didn’t have to teach state-approved curriculums or give standardized tests.
But problems began when the dealership’s co-owner and Michael’s twin brother, Tracy, reported never seeing the children reading, working on math, using computers or doing much of anything educational except singing and playing instruments. He said he heard one of them say learning was unnecessary since “they were going to be raptured.”
Did you hear that: “. . . could have broad implications on the nation’s booming home-school ranks”? Wow! And the “issue”: “Where do religious liberty and parental rights to educate one’s own children stop and obligations to ensure home-schooled students ever actually learn something begin?”
Brietbart reports how several media outlets carried similar spin, all universally suggesting the family was in the wrong and, in fact, shaming them:
Texas liberal news outlets blasted religious liberty as on a “collision course” with homeschool. National headlines lamented if homeschoolers learned anything at all. The Washington Post pondered where did the line between religious liberty and parental rights to educate one’s own children stop. CBS News, like many news organizations, regurgitated the Associated Press’ narrative which scrutinized if Texas homeschoolers even have to learn. The Daily Beast attacked Laura McIntyre as the “Kim Davis” of homeschooling. It went on and on claiming that hope was around the corner — because the McIntyre case could change homeschooling laws for the state’s approximately 300,000 home educated students.
But again, it’s all lies. Here are the facts that none of these outlets relates (I’ve only seen one point partially touched in passing by one story so far):
First, all charges against the family were dropped in 2007. There is no case against them. Nothing. For eight years now.
Second, the case in the Texas Supreme Court is of the parents suing the El Paso school district for harassment, not the other way around.
The family originally filed a civil suit, and won. The district appealed, and won the appeal. Now the family has appealed to the state’s Supreme Court. Oral arguments began last week.
Even if the district ends up winning at the Supreme Court level, it will mean absolutely nothing for homeschool law. It will only save their own butts from the consequences of harassment.
Third, there is no proof anywhere that the family ever refused to homeschool based on belief in the rapture, or anything else for that matter. That claim was made by an apparently jealous brother who claims to have overheard one of the daughters saying that to a cousin. His allegation made it into the “facts of the case” section of the later appeals decision, but it is has never been corroborated by anyone else.
Fourth, the mother of the family stated that the children use A Beka curriculum. There has never been evidence to contrary proven anywhere.
Fifth, the only reason the school district ever got involved was because of an anonymous phone call now said to have been placed by disgruntled, jealous, and meddlesome family members, some of whom worked for the public schools. The Texas Homeschool Coalition Association relates these facts:
The McIntyre family is a devout Christian family with nine children. They were the focus of efforts by their extended family to illegally take their interest in a family business. This resulted in a multimillion dollar lawsuit related to the business, in which the extended family members eventually lost and were found guilty of malicious actions against the McIntyre family.
These same family members, some of whom were former public school teachers, contacted the district and made allegations that the parents were not teaching their children and urged the school officials to take action against the McIntyres.
The meddlesome family members also included the family’s parents who apparently had taken the side of the losing brother in the lawsuit. The appeals court decision relates that “the District received an anonymous complaint that the McIntyre children were not being educated. In November, Gene and Shirene [the parents of the family and grandparents to the homeschooled children] met with Mark Mendoza, the District’s designated attendance officer, and expressed concerns that their grandchildren were not attending school or otherwise receiving a proper education.” But they had only learned this from the disgruntled, losing brother.
Sixth, the period in which the children allegedly were not being educated pertained only to a few months at the beginning the family’s establishment of a homeschool in which the family used an empty office at their business to do the school. After this initial period, the homeschooling was moved to the MacIntyre family’s house. (Disgustingly, Huffington Post reports the family failed to teach the kids anything for ten years!).
Seventh, during this brief period, the brother did not state absolutely that the children were not being educated, but that he allegedly never saw them doing so himself.
In short, the statement that the media has taken and run with to establish the family’s negligence is spinning a half-truth into an alleged full truth and suggesting it characterized the family’s efforts when in fact it pertained only to a brief time if it happened at all.
Eighth, the school district official’s main defense in this case is not that he did not harass the poor family, and not anything to do with homeschool law or regulations. All of that is conceded as a matter of fact. The bulk of his defense is that he, as a government official, should enjoy immunity from lawsuits.
Ninth, even if the brother had actually witnessed anything negligent, it is odd that the authorities were never contacted until after the family dispute over the business had taken place.
Tenth, it is just a little bit odder that the call to the authorities came from the extended family members on the losing side of the dispute.
Eleventh, it is just a bit odder yet that the post-dispute family members who contacted school authorities are also former public school teachers.
Twelfth, it is enormously odd that none of this information found its way into any of the mainstream news reports attacking and insulting the homeschool family (with the sole facile, almost insignificant, exception mentioned already), and suggesting, blatantly wrongly, that the case has national import for homeschool regulations.
This is not journalism. It is not even the typical liberal slant expected from the mainstream media. This is a hard-core, full-bore, anti-Christian, activist agenda.
The media reports are almost exclusively spin, propaganda, anti-Christian homeschool agenda, and outright lies. The truth is that the only case pending is a civil case against the school district. The district is trying to save its own rear-end from losing. Even if they do, it will not change a single homeschool law in Texas or anywhere else in the nation.
- Texas Homsechool Coalition Association write-up
- Texas Supreme Court case page
- Breitbart exposé
- Appellate Decision
- Homeschool Legal Defense Assoc. report