Topeka Family Homeschooled 16 Kids Real Good, When They Weren't Beating 'Em, Allegedly
[contextly_sidebar id="GySPjV8lEtT09GchLuYxPVqm5NW0lHU3"]We come to this story from a place of concern. We come with a benefit of the doubt. We come with Hearts of Niceness, even. Topeka, Kansas, City Councilman Jonathan Schumm and his wife, Allison Nicole Schumm, have bonded out of jail on abuse charges -- felonies among them -- of at least one of their 16 children, 12 of whom were adopted or lived with them in foster care. We come knowing that people can snap on a kid, not out of malice but out of a lack of any more rope. And we wonder why the fuck social workers in the state of Kansas allowed this woman to adopt eight more children after she wrote this:
Here is my Desperate. My need to breath. Shortly after Kyrsten was born, I started getting sicker. I had been sick most of my life, but doctors had never been able to tell me what was wrong. After she was born I kept getting sicker and sicker. I was suffering from depression, bipolar, IBS, numbness in my hands, complex migraines, regular migraines, insomnia and fatigue. Being a mom of 8 at the time, I couldn't understand why God would give me 8 beautiful children and then allow me to be unable to care for them.
Our bold, of course.
So what did Allison Nicole Schumm do after releasing her burden to God? She and her husband adopted eight more kids, and she homeschooled them, with three still in diapers. And the state of Kansas, apparently, was just peachy with that -- if by "peachy," you mean "they tried to disrupt the second family adoption due to 'unfounded' abuse allegations, but people 'lobbied' to let the Schumms hoard kids and why does this remind us of Justin Harris anyway?"
Here is where I will say that I used to live across the street from a Christianist homeschooling family, and those kids were terrific. I mean it. Polite, cheerful, responsible, intelligent, and when I paid them $5 to feed my dog one weekend, they played with her, brushed her, and picked up all the dogshit in my back yard. Their mom did lots of natural science experiments with them, and they really did study during the school day. They were lovely!
Was Allison Schumm a natural at homeschooling (16 kids, with three infants)? In her own words, maybe not very.
I’ve been thinking a lot about this and I’ve realized I did a pretty bad job of accomplishing what I had planned this semester. My goals this semester were primarily to figure out where my children belong in school and work on hearts. Secondarily, I wanted to work on math, grammar, spelling and penmanship, just enough to dip our toes into schooling so many.
I am not the type of person who is good at managing her time. I had to ask one of my friends to help me set up a chore chart and schedule, but once she did this I’ve been able to tweak it with very little trouble. And then we adopted again and guess what? My husband had to revamp the chore chart and schedule, but once again I was able to tweak it to make it work really well for us.
[contextly_sidebar id="FNOZKB25JJIgdA48WCq6KSLYAlQpXLDU"]At the risk of being VERY MEAN, what is a woman who can't handle a chore chart doing handling the educational needs of 16 children, several of whom (by her own account) come from traumatic backgrounds? And why are Kansas officials trying to make this the ideal?
Oh, right. "Kansas."
The Topeka City Council is a nonpartisan office, but of course Schumm is a Republican (if that matters) of the special Born Again kind. The very Christian Councilman Schumm has previously made news only with his proposal to ban poor people from asking citizens for money.
The Schumms were charged with this:
Jonathan Robert Schumm, 34, was arrested in connection with one count each of aggravated battery and, as an alternative, abuse of a child (torture or cruelly beating a child younger than 18), which occurred between Oct. 7 and Oct. 11, and four counts of endangering a child, which occurred Oct. 31, a jail official said.
But in Allison Schumm’s case, she is charged as aiding or assisting her husband in the aggravated battery charge, the judge said. In this case, aggravated battery is defined as knowingly using a weapon to cause great bodily harm, disfigurement or death, according to the charges.
Our assumption, as people with good hearts, is that the Schumms truly wanted to save the world one (or 12) orphan at a time, and that they believed that meant keeping the children from a broken, sinful world beyond God's grace -- but that they were not equipped to do so. And that the sect of Christianity they follow taught them awful, gross things about how to raise their babies in God's love. Perhaps they used the popular ATI homeschooling curriculum. Maybe it was "blanket training." Or maybe it was the Bible's simple exhortation to beat your children well, mixed with a hefty dose of Nancy Thomas.
In any case, somebody should think of the goddamn children.
[Links via Homeschooling's Invisible Children]
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