Homeschooled children seized by authorities still in state custody
What began as an investigation ignited by an anonymous report turned into a nightmare for an Arkansas homeschooling couple and seven of their children last week – and it’s not over yet.
Arkansas sheriff’s deputies in Garland County have “stolen” seven homeschoolers from their parents in a home raid spurred by an anonymous caller who told authorities the family’s house contained a “poisonous substance” — which turned out to be a mineral supplement/water purifier that isn’t FDA-approved. It’s been more than a week since the officers and the Department of Human Services (DHS) seized the seven homeschoolers. They remain in state custody.
Michelle Stanley, the mother of the seven children, is still in shock that the police and DHS have gotten away with abducting her children — taking them into custody under what she calls false pretenses.
“The DHS has come and stolen our kids from us under the guise of ‘protecting our children,” Stanley wrote in an email shortly after her home was raided by police and the DHS, according to Health Impact News.
A sick joke?
Michelle Stanley shared that the debacle began a month before the seizure of her children, which resulted from a complaint made to authorities that she and her husband permitted their children to run around outside in the snow barefoot. She quickly assured the female DHS agent that her children were having harmless fun — a family tradition when it snowed.
“We showed her some of the ‘200 and something’ pair of shoes and told her (actually the kids told her) how it was their preference to go barefoot and that it was like a tradition to briefly run out in the snow barefoot and take a picture of the footprints,” Stanley explained to the investigator last month.
Then, round two of the assault on her parental rights began when a DHS agent and sheriff’s deputies returned to the Stanleys’ home on Monday, January 12.
“Several people showed up at our door, all obviously here for the investigation, and we welcomed them in,” the homeschooling mother recounted, according to WND. “However, they desired us to step outside in order to speak privately with Hal [her husband] and I, and not in front of the kids.”
But this did not sit well with the officers and agent of the state, who refused to let the parents remain in their home.
“I tried to tell them it was much warmer inside and that it was nothing for the kids to go to the back of the house for us to have privacy talking,” the concerned mother shared. “They refused and insisted on us stepping outside.”
Then, she shares, it became apparent what was happening, as the state began to seize control of their home — and soon, their children.
“After stepping outside, they issued us a search warrant and said we could not enter our house or talk to our kids until the search and the investigation was through,” Michelle Stanley said. “They said the charge was that we had a poisonous substance in our house and that the kids were being exposed to it and it endangered their welfare.”
She insisted that the issue with the “poison” was absurd. The suspected substance was actually reported to be MMS — a product used to purify water that “has been used in Africa by the Red Cross to treat malaria,” according to Health Impact News. Even though the family stated that they used the water on their garden, the house raid and seizure of the children persisted.
“Never has it been used in any way to ‘poison’ our kids or even expose them in such a way as to endanger their lives,” Michelle Stanley assured.
In fact, the questioned substance can actually be purchased online for water treatment, but the anonymous caller raised suspicions, noting that the rare product appeared in the home of a Christian homeschooling family that was led by a father who is a pastor.
Without further ado, the parents were kept outside of their home in freezing winter conditions while being interrogated and served with a search warrant. For five hours, the home continued to be searched while their children were being held captive inside without parental supervision.
“Six intimidating, brute looking males and one DHS female all lined up in our den to tell us they would be taking our kids into their custody for 72 hours,” Michelle Stanley added.
Those three days have long passed, as it has been more than a week now since the children have been in custody of the state.
Let my children go
Bringing attention to the government intrusion and injustice, friends of the Stanleys have started a social media campaign on Facebook (BringTheStanleyKidsHome), where supporters can find ways to help and encourage the family.
In addition, a group of friends and backers rallying behind the homeschool family, their GoFundMe support team, said that both parents, Hal and Michelle Stanley, were finally “allowed” to see their children over the weekend (on Saturday) for the first time since being seized from their home. A GoFundMe page has been posted by Stanley supporters to get the children out of state custody and back into their parents’ hands — as well as to set up a legal defense.
“This family is a Christian family, who homeschools their children,” the organizer of the GoFundMe page declared. “They live a peaceful, [quiet] life and are wonderful parents. I have know[n] them for over 20 years, my children have grown up with theirs. Hal is my former pastor. If this can happen to this family [it] can happen to mine, it can happen to yours.”
After attempting to get a response from the county sheriff’s office, WND reported that police refused to comment. The independent conservative news website also left numerous messages for the state police, as well as with the state health and human services department, but none of the voice mails were returned.
Removing children from their home over sodium chlorite … really?
According to a report provided by Health Impact, the mineral supplement/water purifier is commonly known as sodium chlorite and can be purchased online — being readily available on both Amazon.com and eBay. It also states that the substance can bring about possible beneficial effects in those who have Parkinson’s and Alzheimer’s diseases, as well as multiple sclerosis. The report notes that the government points out that sodium chlorite can be transformed into a bleach, which it says would be poisonous if consumed by a human.
Addressing the use of the substance in their home, Hal and Michelle Stanley clarified how the sodium chlorite was used to purify water before using it on their garden — an account that was broadcasted by the local Arkansas television station, KARK. During the telecast, it was reported that the FDA cited the “Miracle Mineral Solution” as being a substance capable of being turned into bleach.
But Hal Stanley assured that there was absolutely no need for alarm, as the substance is perfectly safe.
“If they had asked me if I had MMS, I’d say yes and give it to them,” the father told KARK reporters, showing that he had absolutely nothing to hide.
False accusers protected — not families
The ludicrous nature of the removal of her children from her home was addressed by Michelle Stanley, who emphasized that federal authorities admitted the call could have been from someone intending to cause her family harm.
“We asked who made the charge and if anyone could just make any accusation and they have to act on the call regardless of its validity,” Michelle Stanley noted in her email after the incident. “They said it could be a hateful neighbor, a prank caller, someone with malicious intent and they still would have to act on the call.”
She also stressed that the government puts an emphasis on protecting the anonymity of the person making the complaint.
“The call was anonymous and therefore the caller was protected while all our rights were taken away,” Michelle Stanley continued.
In other words, the state does little to protect a family’s parental rights, but goes out of its way to protect the rights of anonymity of callers who desire to remain anonymous — regardless of the fallacious and intentionally maleficent nature of their complaints.
One reader of the website, Medical Kidnap, commented on the absurdity of the case against the Stanley family. She argues that the very government authorities who are participating in the confiscation of the Arkansas home educators’ children should have their children seized under the same pretenses that they took the Stanleys’.
“[T]here are dangerous chemicals in their own homes … Bleach, draino [sic], toilet bowl cleaner, Tylenol, stain, varnish, glues and the list goes on and on,” Jacquie Trump commented on Medical Kidnap. “It is criminal that this gestapo organization can break into your home and terrorize anyone at any time over anyone reporting anything.”