by Amy Tjaden
Homeschool.com News Editor
New details are coming out in regard to the case in North Carolina in which a judge ordered a homeschooling mother to return her three children into the public school system.
Numerous friends and family have come forward to sign affidavits against Vanessa Mills. Her own parents state they are worried about her. They claim the children are fearful in the presence of their mother. A life long friend who was the maid of honor at Mills’ wedding spoke against Mills. She is quoted as saying, “Because of my friendship with Vanessa Mills, it is extremely hard for me to make this affidavit, but I want to make the court aware of my concern for the Mills children.”
Friends claim that Mills has pushed loved ones away since joining the Sound Doctrine Church, which many critics are calling a cult. Former members of the church have come forward to speak out against it and some tell stories of inappropriate sexual comments and behavior from the church’s leader. They also claim the church is run by fear and manipulation.
Thomas Mills claims that his wife distanced herself from him because of her religion. This distance is what led to his affair and eventually the divorce.
The judge in this case, Ned Mangum, has taken a lot of heat in recent days due to his controversial ruling that would have the mother return her children to public school. The judge says he sees the value in homeschooling but this case is about allowing both parents to have an influence on the children’s religious development.
I think the judge is not against homeschooling but worried that, in this particular situation, the children are getting one very small view of the world; whichever view the Sound Doctrine Church will allow. It has been said that the children get their daily instruction from the Sound Doctrine Church via webcam.
This is a very touchy subject. I don’t believe any parent should be told how or where their child should receive their education. I also do not believe people should be told which church they can or cannot follow. However, this is a divorce case. The parents share custody. Shouldn’t Thomas Mills have a say in how is children are educated?
My initial view of this father was that he was simply trying to spite his ex-wife, with no regard to what is best for his children. But now I have to wonder. It sounds like he may be truly worried and with good cause.
If you take out all the extenuating circumstances in this case you are left with a mom who wants to homeschool and a dad who doesn’t. The parents can’t agree and each has a right to have a say in how their children are educated. That means there is no choice but to leave it up to the judge. He made a ruling because he had to and I’m sure he didn’t make it lightly.
I don’t know. This is an interesting case and as more details emerge I’m sure it will only grow more complex. I’d love to know what our readers think of all this. What do you think of the judge’s ruling? Do the new details make any difference? Head on over to the discussion forum and let us know what you think.
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