This is an infuriating, intolerable invasion of our privacy.
This is an infuriating, intolerable invasion of our privacy.
The outside of the new house is ready for summer, and the kitchen sink is installed and working. The kitchen cabinets are coming along. The herb and vegetable gardens are started, and we've planted a fruit tree and a few ornamentals to take notes on for next year. The herbs took to their new spots much faster than they did in the 90% clay soil we've been gardening in, and I'm already using the tea herbs. Now the tea tastes like it's supposed to taste.
We went to an Antiques and Collectibles show over the Memorial Day holiday to look for furniture. It'd be much easier to buy everything new from a furniture store, but the Southern climate is unkind to cardboard, hot glue and compressed sawdust. We picked up some 50s and 70s reproductions to go with the pieces that my grandfather made. I found a vintage sewing table big enough to stash an afghan-in-progress inside, something I've been wanting for ages. We got the girls a pair of poker table chairs from a remodeled Indian casino for their bedroom. Children's beanbag chairs that look like they'd fall apart after two weeks if a child actually sat in them run $45 each. These are made for heavy commercial use, look really nice, and cost $35 each. You do the math.
The roof of the old house took some damage in the tornadoes. We've talked to FEMA about it, but they're being stingy with everybody so I doubt we'll see anything out of it.
We've been spied on when we've gone back to the old house, although the spies tend to melt in the presence of a video camera. ( Really gross parts here )
Sorry to be late. We've been busy getting moved.
After we met with Choctaw County DHS on Wednesday, December 15 we prepared to move into the new house. Unfortunately the sellers had "issues" that we were still dealing with (Good grief, the post I'll write on them when I get the time!), one of those issues being a pack of huge, vicious attack dogs even they couldn't handle anymore that they were trying to leave behind for us to deal with. Long story short, we were almost another week getting moved in. During that time something or someone killed our chickens and ducks where they were being temporarily held. So out of around 30 animals we had when this mess started, we were down to one dog.
Also during that week we got revised forms from Chickasaw County DHS (not Choctaw County DHS). I'd quote from our copies of them but they got misplaced during the move so I'll have to paraphrase off the top of my head. The only parts that were changed were the descriptions of us. Post-psychological evaluation, everything negative had been stripped from my copy, but they had added in that I "refused to acknowledge my problems." What these problems were they no longer said, and if they had it would have contradicted the shrink who has previously shown no compunction for tearing them apart in court. My husband's copy had two statements next to each other that contradicted each other, one praising him for being good at something and the next saying he was bad at it. That faux pas pissed him off quite a bit. It also lists one party as being Anna Warren, not Anna Brock, and doesn't say if she's a supervisor or not. But nowhere on their was Natasha Ivory's signature. Our lawyer got on to her, and says she's signed it since then and the case is officially closed.
Choctaw County DHS promised us copies of the pictures they that were in our file, then changed their mind and said they wanted nothing whatsoever to do with our case.
That is supposedly the end of the legal harassment. There are still some loose ends hanging, but I'll talk more about them later.
As I said in my last post, we went back to the old house to retrieve some things. There were plenty of signs that people had been on the property, including human feces by the back door, but no one bothered us while we were there
We're past the initial move, but not fully moved in. The house still needs the kitchen, the den, one bathroom, and a lot of external work finished. It is minimally furnished while we build the kitchen cabinets (on site from scratch, not prefabs, the room isn't square enough) and scrounge up a panel truck to move some more of our stuff.
I guess it should feel like victory. Instead it feels like a tornado has uprooted us and set us down elsewhere, doing major damage in the process. We've been running on adrenaline for months while our emotions were on hold. Now the feelings are starting to catch up with us, and it's not fun. We want to just scream and cry, but we don't want to upset the children. At least we've got things to build and cook and clean to take it out on.
And we still don't know what was really behind this whole mess, so we don't know if it's really over or if it's just this round that's over.
Anyway, it's time to get back to my Regularly Scheduled Life (TM). I'm putting a tag on these posts ("harassment") if anyone wants to just subscribe to those, posting about other things, and start using lj-cuts again. Thanks to everyone who provided advice and moral support through all this. The ideas y'all had about the video camera and the lawyer did the trick. I don't want to think about what we would have done without you.
We've been really busy getting moved into the new house, but I'm back at the old house today. Some unkind soul turned off our outdoor water faucet so it burst in the freeze. We dealt with it, added more locks to the house, and for the first time since October spent the night.
It was Psychologically Necessary In the Long Term (TM), but I hated every minute of it. And I hated that I hated sleeping in my own house. And -- you get the picture.
There's a little more that's happened with DHS, but I'm not really in any shape to blog about it today. Another month should not slide by before I post again.
We're back at the Okolona house with the children for the first time since our house was broken into, doing a last email download before changing over the phone. If you've emailed me recently, please be patient. It's going to take me a while to go through that mess.
Friday December 10 -- We met with the new lawyer and went over the case. She was thrilled that we were buying a house. She showed us the official notice from the psychologist that I was Certified Sane and Not a Danger to Children *TM* (And don't y'all forget it! :P) The only remaining issues we all could find were my middle child's dental records and verification that we weren't living in Chickasaw county anymore. We'd filed a change of address to Choctaw county, where we were staying with a relative, and both lawyers had informed Chickasaw county DHS of that, but when we'd stopped by Choctaw county DHS they'd never heard of the case.
Our lawyer had no idea if we were going to be in Youth Court Friday December 17. She said Chickasaw County DHS didn't bother sending out summons to anyone! All she had was Natasha Ivory asking her, "Are you doing anything Friday?"
Lawyer: "Is there something I need to do Thursday?"
Natasha Ivory: *silence*
Personally I think that's grounds for a lawsuit right there, but first thing's first.
Sunday December 12 -- The seller finally agrees to sell the house for the appraised value (instead of the ridiculously high figure they were holding out for, but that's a story for later.) The bank needs two days to process the last remaining paperwork, and we agree to meet on the morning of Wednesday December 15, the last day all the requisite lawyers and officials can be rounded up before sometime in January (which would do us out of a year's worth of Homestead Exemption.) We're hoping this clears before Friday's Youth Court deadline, which we still have no confirmation about.
Tuesday December 14 -- While we're out buying kitchen wares for the new house, the manager of Choctaw County DHS visit's our relative's house. She says she'll be back to check on us tomorrow morning -- at the exact time we need to be at the bank buying the house over an hour and a half's drive away! But we've got to have this confirmation tomorrow to avoid Friday's Youth Court hearing! We put her off until the afternoon, which is when we're already scheduled to meet with both sets of subcontractors to discuss the renovations. Nobody sleeps well that night.
Wednesday December 15 -- We get up early, go to the bank, sign the papers and take possession of the house, then fly back to Choctaw County to meet the manager of Choctaw County DHS.
2:30 she arrives. I'll have to look up the spelling of her name as I can't remember it offhand. She was nice and professional, and had trouble reconciling DHS Standard Operating Procedure with what has happened in our case.
"What have you worked on in your Family Team Meetings?"
"What's that? We've only heard that term once before."
"What do you want to work on in your Family Team Meetings?"
************** "We want the case closed."
She did note that we'd met all the points that had been presented. She kept wanting to see our updated Individual Service Plan, the one with the vaccination information on it. We showed her the only ISP we had (which doesn't mention vaccinations), and told her that Chickasaw County had refused our repeated requests to clarify and update the original ISP. Apparently there is an updated one we haven't seen, though, because she appeared to have seen one that does mention vaccinations. Interesting.
(We have a family history of allergic reactions to vaccinations, and are delaying the children's vaccinations until they turn 12 so they'll be big enough to handle an adverse reaction should one occur.)
She kept asking when the pictures were taken of our house for the DHS.
"We never allowed pictures to be taken of our house for the DHS. If there are any pictures they were obtained illegally."
She shut up about the pictures. So apparently there are pictures which were taken during a break-in in our DHS file. Interesting.
She took pictures of our relative's house (which pleased our relative none at all), and then my husband had to fly our to meet the subcontractors. She tried to talk to our daughters privately, but they refused to talk. Finally she told them, "We're going to get this resolved so you can get back to being kids. No kid should have to go through this."
She asked very politely if, after all this was over with, I would delete the video of her from my camera as she hated being videoed.
Before she left I asked her to verify our Youth Court appearance. She called and told me we were scheduled to appear in Chickasaw County Youth Court at the Courthouse Friday December 17 at 9:30 am.
9:30 am! Shit!
Wait a minute. Chickasaw is a spit county (has two county seats half an hour's drive apart for historical and geographic reasons). Did she mean the Houston Courthouse or the Okolona Courthouse?
She called back. It was the Okolona Courthouse.
*deep breath* Okay. I thanked her gratefully for clarifying that, said goodbye to her, and set about figuring out what to do next.
A few minutes later I was told that she was back. She said that she'd been called back and that it was really the Houston Courthouse.
Houston, Okolona, which was it? If we guessed wrong we'd automatically be in contempt of court!
"Anna's assistant said Houston. I'll called Anna back to verify."
"Wait, who's Anna?"
"Anna Brook is the manager of Chickasaw County DHS," she said absently while dialing her cellphone.
"Oh thank you!" I said, so thrilled I was ready to jump up and down (also so cold, as I'd come out without my coat.) "We've been trying for months to find out who the supervisor is! Not even our lawyers could find that out!"
"She stared at me, then asked for verification. She said Chickasaw County was supposed to call her right back with the information.
We waited for 10 minutes while she glared at the phone and I shivered. Then she told he that she would find out the exact location and type it up on a Choctaw County DHS letterhead and leave it at her office for us to pick up in the morning. I said goodbye to her again, not expecting to see her anytime soon.
At 6:30 that night she showed back up at our door, handed me a piece of paper, and said, "This should take care of things. Remember our agreement." Then she left.
I opened the paper. It was a letter from her stated that after consulting with Anna Brook, manager of Chickasaw County DHS, we had met all their points and our case was closed. There were no scheduled court appearances for us anywhere. I'll post the letter later.
Everyone is thrilled!
Still, my husband and I are waiting for the next shoe to drop.
Lest anyone reading this wonder how any county could be so corrupt, here's last week's headline: Chickasaw jailer arrested for selling drugs to inmates.
Both our lawyers have informed DHS of our official change of address.
Natasha Ivory has said that we'll be summoned to appear before Youth Court on December 17 (it meets once a month), but we haven't been given an official summons yet. I'll quote from the lawyer's email as to the reason:
She indicated that you have not signed the service agreements or the rights and responsiblities. Ms. Ivory indicated that your service agreement has not changed. She indicated that Gene asked them to provide additional information regarding the agreement but did not inform them of specific questions. The service agreement must be signed. It is indicating that you understand and agree to work with DHS to achieve your goals/objectives.
Those of you who've seen the video know that we repeatedly asked for specific additional information which we never recieved, and which they promised ON TAPE to provide us in writing.
Our psychologist has finished my sanity assessment and faxed it in. The children have been medically examined and gotten clean bills of health; a letter to that effect should be ready Monday.
The preliminary paperwork is finished on our buying a house, and the final negotiations are about to begin. It'll need about a week's worth of renovations after the purchase is finalized. (There's isn't a "move-in ready" house in five counties. We looked.)
That's what passes for good news.
We've been talking with the Mississippi Bureau of Investigations. After stalling us for weeks, they finally said that due to budgetary constraints all property cases without a "smoking gun" piece of evidence attached to them when they come in the door are being given low priority. This was in spite of the fact that the number of property cases had gone through the roof during the recession. Everyone who voted to cut government spending, thanks for nothing.
Tomorrow we have a meeting with our lawyer to discuss matters.
I'm uploading a crude hack of the video to youtube right now. Hopefully it'll be finished by the time I post.
We have new mailing addresses. We're staying with a relative in Choctaw county and using her address for our personal mail, and we've got a PO Box for our business mail.
DHS refused to believe that our new lawyer was our new lawyer without paperwork, which they delayed mailing to us at our new address so we could sign. We hand-delivered it yesterday. They didn't like seeing it back.
The new lawyer informed DHS that according to Mississippi law, NO agency has the right to monitor homeschoolers. They didn't like hearing that either.
The next part gets really weird. Our old lawyer was emailing us every day insisting that we tell him where we were staying every single day and night, apparently at the behest of DHS who wanted a continuous update on our E911 address. We refused. Our new lawyer is perplexed by our old lawyer's behavior, since even convicted felons don't have to report in that often. Then they insisted we give them a mailing address. We gave them our new PO address, but they refused to accept it. We gave them our relative's address in Choctaw County, but they refused to accept that either, insisting that we were still living in our house in Chickasaw County.
West Chickasaw County DHS insisted that we take the children by Chocktaw County DHS at the beginning of the month so they could see them. We went Thursday, but Choctaw county DHS had never heard of us and couldn't wrap their brain around why West Chickaway County DHS would insist that children who weren't even living in Chickasaw county report back to Chickasaw county once a month. When they called West Chickasaw County DHS, they were told to tell us to bring the children up to Okolona on Friday.
Friday we drove the children 90 miles both ways just so West Chickasaw County DHS could see them, but when we got there they ignored the kids and focused on me. Their only question was had I gotten the mental assessment done?
Then they announced that they were taking us to Youth Court on December17 for not providing them with a mailing address. When we told them they had our new address, they refused to believe it was valid. We don't understand this, and neither does our lawyer.
There's been this weird dichotomy since the beginning. At first they were urging us to go on and move out of the county, so they "wouldn't have to take us before the judge". Now they're threatening to take us before the judge for moving out of the county. Nobody we've talked to understands this.
Here's the Election Day video on youtube.
It's 19 minutes broken into two parts. I apologize if it's crude, but we did the best we could at the moment. It gets hard to see and hear when they speak to our children (for their privacy) but it gets really interesting after that.
Thanksgiving has come and gone, and we made do okay.
I filled out two more personal assessments for the psychologist and a Maternal Discipline short-answer test. ("Your child has broken a lamp and lied to you about it. What do you do?" "I don't have any lamps. Everything breakable is in storage. This is why.")
The new lawyer sent a certified letter to East Chickasaw DHS, and hasn't heard back from them. I'm told that from a legal standpoint this is a Good Thing for some reason, but it doesn't feel that way.
We've taken steps toward changing our legal address and buying a house.
Our dogs escaped from our friend's house, and we had to go find them. We found our older daughter's Australian Silky Terrier, but our younger daughter's Lhasa Apso has vanished. I so wanted to scoop them up and take them back with us, but we can't. And there's no way we can explain to them why the humans that love them aren't there to take care of them anymore, and won't be for weeks at least.
ETA: DHS wants to see the children at the first of every month. Since we're not living up there now I expect to here from them next week that I've gone insane and murdered the kids -- again. They've used that same excuse twice before to see them.
ETA2: dailymotion.com can't be accessed from the computer I'm having to use right now, so I won't be posted video there anytime soon.
Making a flying visit to the house for food and warm clothes -- the weather is starting to turn nippy. Got an MMPA(?) I think the "M-something Multi-Phasic Assessment" today so I can be Certified Sane(TM). Took care of some details concerning buying and moving into the new house. My husband says Bozo just got back so I don't have time to post details. Gotta leave in five minutes.
Thanks for the details about DailyMotion. I'll check that out later.
Found an email at this address from our lawyer saying that the DHS workers we saw in the video on Election Night called him up and complained that we "talked to fast". Oh boo hoo!
Oh, thanks to those of you who offered to donate money, but we haven't needed it. As I mentioned in my homeschooling blog intro post, we've been tigthwads for over 20 years and debt free most of that time. This "adventure" has been exhausting and infuriating, but not financially catastrophic. What we need are advice, moral support, and contacts for lawyers and media who might be interested in our case. Thanks to those of you who've given us that. I don't know what we'd do without you!
ETA1 - Our animal-minder quit, so we moved the dogs, chickens, and ducks to a friend's house. At least they're not up here anymore.
ETA2 - A poster on my homeschool blog offered to edit the video and post it on Youtube. Check there for more details.
Not much happened this week. The new lawyer was unable to find out who at East Chickasaw DHS was supposed to be overseeing our case, and finally just sent a letter to their office. We gathered up the girls' homeschool registration forms for her (the only paperwork required by homeschoolers in Mississippi. The rest of the stuff they asked for is not required.)
I'm supposed to have a psych evaluation next week that should satisfy any legitimate concerns they have on that regard. Isn't that the cherry on top of a mountain of stress?
And on top of all that we're still househunting, which ordinarily would be a job all by itself. There's a lot more I can post about that (yeesh!) but my time is limited. More after we get something nailed down. Plenty of running around thanks to that next week.
I have no video editing capablilities right now. Is there somewhere I can post a thirty minute video for viewing? Youtube cuts off at 15 minutes.
We're going to be spending Thanksgiving living out of suitcases. Oh, joy. I only hope something gets resolved before Christmas.
To those who think I'm doing this for attention, I'm really not that kind of person. Given a choice, I'd really rather be sitting back, chatting about fandom, and reading fanfic as opposed to dealing with all this. You have no idea how much I wish I could even care about fandom right now.
ETA: I actually posted this last week but my husband messed up the setting, so nobody could see it until today.
Okay, here's the crazy "Service Plan" that DHS came up with for us, which looks nothing like any "Service Plan" any other expert has ever seen before: http://www.megaupload.com/?d=NIOO2ML8 Note the total lack of anything specific complaints or remedies.
The video is over 15 minutes in length and doesn't fit on youtube. How do we chop it in half?
When we went back to our home to vote on Election Day we found DHS waiting for us in our driveway. Here Patti Young and Natasha Ivory try to make us sign a document saying that we agree to abide by another document that they don't have with them and which they say they've changed, BUT they won't say what the changes are and they refuse our point blank requests for specifics. Oh yeah, and all this happens IN THE DARK. It's blurry where they talk to our children but clears up after that when the "good" bits happen. It's here: http://www.megaupload.com/?d=TFQVWUMR
Sorry to be away so long. I haven't had access to a computer since my last post.
Got a new lawyer who has experience with DHS. Got a respected psychologist who says I'm not crazy -- one of DHS's claims is that I'm too nuts to look after the kids, even though there's no evidence to support that. (According to the shrink we're totally outside the DHS's usual client base, and they don't know what to do with us.) Other counselors have looked over the document, say it's totally out of line, and offered suggestions.
East Chickasaw DHS has continued to act like idiots, including another claim that I ax murdered my children in our house when we weren't even in the county -- that was the Tuesday after my husband and I went back to the house. (It's awfully tiring to teleport everyone in, scream and murder the kids, resurrect them, clean up the mess, and teleport out every month.) On Election Day they were waiting for us when we drove back to our old county to vote and harassed us again, but this time we made a video. Excuse me while I go learn uploading. I've never had to upload more than a jpeg before.
The entire video file is at http://www.megaupload.com/?d=TFQVWUMR
I'm making a flying visit to our house for the first time in 11 days. There's private papers scattered all over the floor and other evidence of another break-in.
But we finally talked to someone who was willing to put us on the trail of the more specialized lawyers. And we got a video camera with a good audio pickup.
I'll update when I can. Internet access is problematic when I'm away from the house.
Still out here. Progress is being made on various fronts, but it's slow going.
Can anyone recommend a video camera with a good audio pickup?
The children are starting to get fretful, being away from home for so long and moving so much. This nonsense is hard on them.
What's the contact infor for the Huffington Post?
I must commend the DHS for their efforts to "treat" my depression. Right now I'm too darn angry about what they have done to be depressed.
After many hours of wrangling our lawyer got a copy of the DHS's "Individual Service Plan" for myself and my husband. It's a hoot. Counselors we've shown this to have hit the roof. It only has one signature attached to it, and that isn't anyone I've seen or talked to. Each section has a different date, and a different due date. Everything is out of compliance with the official state practices. Some of it is against state law, other parts of itare against official insurance practices. Some of it isn't even worded in complete sentences.
Part 1 says:
"...will correct her home deficiencies to corrrect but arenot(sp) limited to replaceing the dead bolt lock"
2) incorrectly spelled, and
3) the deadbolt lock they want me to remove is next to a front door window that's already been broken into before. The insurance people would hit the roof over that!
Part 2 wants the children's medical/dental records BUT doesn't offer to pay for them. I learned today that's not kosher.
Part 3 says:
"...will provide proof/confirmation that the children's educational needs are being met."
That's ILLEGAL in Mississippi.
"the dead bolt will be replaced with a safer type of lock..."
DHS, meet insurance people. Insurance people, meet DHS.
There's no "client" signature. There's no "social worker" signature. There is an "ASWS" signature -- but no date. I was told that the ASWS is the social worker supervisor. BUT the person who signed in the "ASWS signature" slot is not a social worker supervisor. She's not even a social worker. Melody Hamilton, who has the only signature on the entire document that they faxed our lawyer, is a student intern working in their office.
How many ways can you say FAIL!
We need an easy to use video recorder.
It needs to get OK pictures in indoor light but have really good audio pickup for recording any of these "encounters" or "interviews."
We emailed the FBI and some support and media outlets today. Please add places we can contact.
ETA: I'm Debbie Byrd Shinn. The women who contacted me who said they were from DHS named themselves Patti Young, Natasha Ivory, and Joyce Cook. None of those names are in the MS Employee registery: http://dsitspe01.its.ms.gov/its/
Ever since the activity started at the trailer next door, dh smelled a lot of ammonia and organic solvents in the evening. He originally put it down to remodeling. He also remembers being asked if he could show somebody how to "cook something" last year. "Cook what?" he asked puzzled.
Here is a letter my husband prepared for the FBI. Please forward it to any parties who might be interested:
Over the last several weeks my wife has been the subject of an harassment campaign.
She has blogged this at crabby-lioness.livejournal.com
Most of this happens when I am not at home.
This began with a daylight breaking and entry, and what was suggested by the county attorney to be an attemptedkidnapping of our son. And the telephone went dead 1 hour before all this. (No reply from PSC.)
Deputy Jimmy Rappe,in no uniform, but acting as such still, refused to look at the door, but told my wife DHS would respond; he was interested only in the child being out of the house, and told her not to lock the door.
The sheriff’s dept. knows about the evidence of the break-in, but have never picked it up from the Okolona police.
DHS blames my wife for letting the baby out of the house, as if this break-in never happened. The county attourney even suggested this was an attempted kidnapping; we have asked him as well to have this investigated.
One day after that when my family was with relatives in another county, Chris Ware Chickasaw SD, called me at work,that there was an emergency at my house, that some of my family were inside injured, and no one would come to thedoor. I told him no one was at home. He and DHS said they did not believe me. I said if anyone was in my house, they had broken in, and asked Ware to investigate the windows and doors – he refused. Okolona police recommended we get a civil rights attorney at this point, but none up here will take our case.
More items of harassment came in a steady trickle as we tried to find a way to move.
Saturday, Oct. 9, 2010, our home was entered shortly after we left. About 45 minutes after we left, 3:27 pm,someone called my telephone, and a stranger inside picked up. They discussed and viewed my wife’s medical records,which we found by the telephone. Our attorney did not want us to report this, and it does seem a little pointless since an Okolona policeman thinks one of the voices is Jimmy Rappe, of the Chickasaw SD.
His mother lives next door (see the trailer story following) and has made threatening statements before.
Please read her further descriptions and help us end this harassment.
I suspect something is going on over at the trailer near us; it was almost abandoned until about 2 months ago.
I have smelled ammonia and strong organic solvents (I have a degree in chemistry) from that direction since.
One night, several people came down, turned off the outside light, carried boxes into the pitch-black interior, then emerged with even more boxes, coming down steps and loading these into vehicles in total darkness. Something is going on.
We have removed from the house, as we deem it no longer safe.
Please, please, read her further descriptions and help us end this harassment.
Robert Shinn, Ph.D.
Hi folks. Thanks for the info and the kind messages. I've been out of pocket recently. So far so good.
First up -- here is the link for a copy the message I found on my answering machine Saturday night:
And a big THANK YOU to the cybergeeks who did that for me. If you want to help and have the ability, please mirror that for me. I'll add your links in later.
If you would, please someone make a slideshow using the audio and the transcript I posted earlier and post it to youtube. Please mirror that as well, and forward to anyone who might be interested in civil rights. Thank you.
Second -- DHS
According to the lawyer we hired to handle the DHS end, he spent three hours badgering them before they would even admit to having my name in their files. Then they wanted a release form. Then they spent even more hours giving him the runaround -- wrong person, wrong office, wrong directions et al. Then when he asked them to write down the complaint, they said a bunch of hooey but have so far refused to put anything in writing. ('m not surprised, because they never gave us anythign in writing either.) Some of the hooey isn't even legal in Mississippi.
They complained --
the house isn't clean enough, even though we cleaned it to their earlier (verbal) specs and got their (verbal) approval;
the floor isn't fixed, even though we repaired it to their earlier (verbal) specs and got their (verbal) approval;
(There was a background sense that we weren't acting "White enough", that we weren't living the way people of our socio-economic standing should live. That instead of buying a trailer and some land in the country, and building extensions as we went along, we should have "properly" bought a pre-made house in the suburbs and tied ourselves down with a huge mortgage. That we should buy all-new furniture instead of taking care of the old stuff we have. Apparently one can't be frugal and be a "good" person.
Some of the property is old, but it's all in good shape. The additions were built at above US Navy standards.);
that our homeschooled children needed to be tested to see if they were learning enough. THIS IS ILLEGAL IN MISSISSIPPI. Homeschooled children in Mississippi have to meet no testing requirements whatsoever: http://www.hslda.org/laws/analysis/
"It is not the intention of this section to impair the primary right and the obligation of the parent ... to choose the proper education and training" for their children, and nothing in this section shall be construed to grant the State of Mississippi "authority to control, manage or supervise" the private education of children. "And this section shall never be construed so as to grant, by implication or otherwise, any right or authority to any state agency or other entity to control, manage, supervise, provide for or affect the operation, management, program, curriculum, admissions policy or discipline of any such school or home instruction program." Miss. Code Ann. § 37-13-91(9).
(The funny part of this is that when they asked to see the girls' schoolwork and I showed them their Singapore Math notebooks, Patti Young, aka DHS-1, couldn't even read the problems correctly out of my 9yo's workbook, and declared the 11yo's workbook was above her head.);
that our children need to be given a medical exam and vaccinated. Okay, we were holding off to see how the mercury content in modern vaccines was being handled, but the kids are old enough they may be safe. (I had an extremely bad reaction to an MMR shot once, and I was 21 at the time.) Still THIS IS ILLEGAL IN MISSISSIPPI. Only children entering the school system have to be vaccinated. http://www.msdh.state.ms.us/msdhsite/
(Also there was an issue with the age of the vaccines. I was at the County Health Clinic one day when a batch of "fresh" vaccines arrived and was left sitting on the reception counter. They were already out of date and had been culled from another medical center, with all the proper markers for rejects. This sort of thing does not inspire confidence.);
that I am "too depressed" to "properly watch my children" or to "properly homeschool". THIS IS ILLEGAL IN MISSISSIPPI. There's no requirements for homeschool teachers in our state;
that I should send them a copy of any lease I sign anywhere else so they can check out my new home and so they can transfer my case instead of closing it.
They said (but didn't put in writing) that if I moved they would drop the case. That doesn't jive with the above statement.
The lawyer wants to comply with all this. I suspect much of it will actually evaporate when they have to put it in writing.
Third -- the matter of the break-ins and the Sherrif's Department's actions. We're still working on this end. Everyone who hears about it is horrified, but most don't want to get involved.
Gotta go. Please pass this story along to any homeschool advocates, including Mississippi homeschool advocates, the Mississippi state senator who chairs the education committee, and anyone else who may be interested. Thanks.
I currently live at
591 Hwy 41 E
Okolona, MS 38860
Catherine Young's old trailer is next door.
Someone probably thinks i saw something or someone over there I should not have. Having me committed would discredit me as a witness. Please circulate this post.
I haven't talked much about the trailer next door. Normally I don't think much about it, but with all this trouble coming from that direction I'm reminded that things have been odd over there lately.
It's been abandoned for years, but the week before school starts there's a lot of activity going on over there. Lots of people in and out, lots of banging and remodeling noises going on, so much that I didn't notice anything odd about the banging noises the day our door was broken open.
Then there's the people, who gathered together to talk at the back door instead of the front door, the back door that can only be seen from our back yard. At least they did until the day the baby watched them, three days before this mess started. They watched me take him in. They haven't gathered at either door since then.
Then there's the inside lights, which are never on over there anymore, even though they seemed to be working fine the last time anybody lived there.
Then there's the night a whole bunch of people came over with a whole bunch of boxes. They turned off the outside lights, took a lot of boxes in, then took even more boxes out. Funny thing was they did it in complete darkness, with neither the inside or outside lights on, even though that meant negotiating stairs and uneven terrain in the dark.
Then there's the morning Bozo, the guy who lives there, cut across his front yard like he was coming to our front door. He saw me in the window, stopped, turned and glared at the street, then got in his truck and left. We'd been having a rash of damaged doorknobs about then.