Homeschoolers, you need to read this. Last week I posted the true story behind the media lies about the El Paso Independent School District’s attack on the McIntyre homeschool family. Now I realize why they were doing so, and the legal implications are actually quite frightening. What it boils down to is an attempt by the left to get courts to allow the school district officials to have immunity from lawsuits when they break the law harassing and persecuting homeschoolers. If this can be achieved in Texas, it could set a precedent for this type of harassment nationwide.
The case was so badly distorted by the media that there had to be some ulterior motive. There had to be some reason why national media outlets were taking a local case involving a public school district, spinning an outright lie about it, suppressing 80 percent of the real story, and running with it. After reading all of the court briefs and decisions, and doing a little background research, I have realized that reason.
As I said last time, the school district’s defense essentially hinges upon a claim that the truant officer, as a government official, should have “qualified immunity” from lawsuits. I noted that fact thinking it was an almost laughably pitiful defense, and I noted it only in passing. I should have stopped to think: duh! This is just the kind of ultra-hubris we should expect from leftist, activist, and/or statist public officials. They really do believe this privilege should apply to them whatever they may do. They really do believe they should be immune from prosecution even when breaking the law in the name of the law, and persecuting those they hate (home schools) in the name of protecting the children. They really, seriously want this power, and they want to use it to stamp out their ideological rivals.
You may not be clear yet exactly what this “immunity” is. I’ll tell you. It’s a well-acknowledged privilege of some government officials by which they cannot be held liable for criminal actions or civil damages when acting in the course of their official duties. Historically, this privilege has applied to prosecutors, judges, and most widely to police officers. In these cases, the privilege can be (and often is) troubling enough. For example, police officers have wide latitude to violate your civil rights when in the course of their duties, and when they do so, the innocent victim of this tyranny has a very high burden of proof in court: they must prove that the violating officer knowingly broke the law in such a way that a reasonable person would have known that the action violated a “clearly established” precedent. Good luck on that.
All an officer, for example, has to do is plead “good faith” in his actions, or, unfortunately, lie. Without direct evidence to the contrary, it is impossible for a victim of government tyranny to prove otherwise.
Now it’s bad enough when prosecutors or police may abuse this privilege, violate people’s rights, and then get off in court due to the privilege of immunity. It amounts to a blank check for certain officials to violate our rights and harass us in various ways. But consider how bad it would be if that power were extended to all government agents, for example, nosy truant officers. They could break various laws and regulations harassing and even prosecuting homeschoolers, and their special immunity would shield them from any lawsuits.
It would be a field day preying upon innocent homeschool families.
That’s exactly what the McIntyre’s are fighting against here, what their attorney is pointing out, and what the nosy, anti-homeschooling liberals have such an interest in winning. What made this clear to me was the legal brief filed by the McIntyres’ attorney during the Appeals case. He hits the nail on the head in this one paragraph:
The District asks this court to become the first in America to extend this doctrine of prosecutorial immunity to a school pupil services employee. The District then asks that this newly-created immunity be applied to an administrator who knew the defendants had broken no existing law, so simply made up non-existent ”criminal” charges against them [my emphasis].
“The first in America.” Get that. It’s no wonder the leftists in the media are salivating. It’s no wonder they are trying to spin this case in a way that sounds favorable to the school district. They want power, and they specifically want power to crush their opposition with immunity from prosecution reserved for themselves.
It’s more than that. The attorney also hit upon the key word: this march of liberal activist school districts is the agenda of the modern inquisition.
This case involves a public school district’s attempt—in violation of established law and constitutional liberties—to seize inquisitorial powers over Texas parents who choose to home school their children. [My emphasis.]
If you have not read my groundwork on the modern inquisition, now would be a good time to spend the time and get caught up. This is extremely important.
The powers the liberals and their cronies in the district court are trying to establish here are nothing less than the trampling of classic biblical, common law due process. It is a court system in which elite, protected bureaucrats can harass and charge innocent people based on rumor, agenda, or vendetta, and the poor innocents are considered guilty until they prove themselves innocent to the satisfaction of the inquisitorial persecutors.
The argument against qualified immunity for this school official was ignored by the district court because it was the Texas 5th District—openly liberal. The panel of Justices that overturned the original trial court decision was made up of three female Democrats. Just reading their opinion makes it clear whose side they were on—and stridently so. It reads like the Justices let the school district write the decision for themselves.
If they successfully defend themselves in the Texas Supreme Court, it will set a very dangerous precedent. “Qualified immunity,” or even “absolute immunity” will be relied upon in the future to attack homeschooling throughout the nation. The attorney makes this point well:
Instead of conceding its mistake and apologizing, that district continues to insist on its authority to demand detailed information from private schools outside the Texas public education system—and to use that authority selectively against a faith-based home school.
The importance of this case extends far beyond home schools. . . . If EPISD acted within its legal authority in demanding curriculum materials and grade reports from the Mclntyres, then any Texas public school district could demand that same information from any private school, from Cathedral High School in El Paso to Yavneh Academy in Dallas. And if the District properly filed criminal charges against the Mclntyres for declining to provide the information, any district can just as readily file charges against the hundreds of parents choosing to send their children to Cathedral or Yavneh should those schools balk at capitulating to governmental demands.
This very issue is among the main reasons our forefathers left tyrannical England and founded a new nation. It is among the main reasons they later declared independence and why the pulpits throughout New England resounded with biblical law. It is among the main reasons they shed their blood. That this type of court system has already made tremendous inroads in American life is a multi-faceted tragedy. To allows liberals to expand these powers to public schools would only add to the loss of liberty we already suffer.
Christians need to pray on this case now. Pray that the Texas Supreme Court Justices will uphold our God-given rights and liberties, and forbid these tyrannical powers to school officials in this case. Pray for justice. Pray for the McIntyres. Pray for freedom.