Lawmakers and activists are pushing to change Florida’s homeschool policies after a young girl whose mother claimed to be homeschooling her, was found dead.
ABC Action News reports that Manatee County leaders are discussing imposing stricter oversight on homeschooling parents after the tragic case of 11-year-old Janiya Thomas surfaced.
Janiya’s mother claimed she was homeschooling Janiya, but after the girl had been unaccounted for for months, authorities found her body in a freezer.
Officials say that imposing more oversight on parents who are homeschooling their children may help in preventing tragedies like Janiya’s.
“We must do better by these children,” said Rachel Coleman, a homeschool graduate and the executive director of the Coalition for Responsible Home Education. “Janiya’s name should be a call for change.”
Currently, in Florida, homeschool students are required to take one assessment a year. Manatee County School Board Member Charlie Kennedy is proposing that one more assessment be required.
Kennedy added that he doesn’t want to make this process “onerous” for homeschool parents, but that something must be done.
Janiya’s mother, Keishanna Thomas, is in jail and has been charged with felony child abuse and desecration of a corpse.
Publication date: November 12, 2015