Despite investigating a neo-Nazi homeschool network in Upper Sandusky, Ohio, the Ohio Department of Education appears to have concluded the group is not doing anything wrong.
As a result of research conducted by an anti-fascist group called the Anonymous Comrades Collective, Logan and Katja Lawrence were revealed last week as operators of a neo-Nazi homeschool network with thousands of members called Dissident Homeschool on Telegram.
The Lawrences publicly advocate white supremacist beliefs with the goal of training the children they teach, they’ve said, to “become wonderful Nazis.” Katja Lawrence explained that she initially started the group because she “was having a rough time finding Nazi-approved school material for [her] homeschool children". She has shared lesson plans that include quotes by Adolf Hitler, pictures of a cake her children baked for Hitler’s birthday, and a recording of her children saying “sieg Hitler” together.
A few days after the news broke, the Ohio Department of Education announced it was investigating the Lawrences and the network of neo-Nazi homeschools.
Stephanie Siddens, the interim superintendent of public instruction at the Department of Education, told VICE News that she was “outraged and saddened” by the news, adding that “there is absolutely no place for hate-filled, divisive and hurtful instruction in Ohio’s schools, including our state’s home-schooling community.”
It appears, however, that in light of the state's homeschool policies, the Department of Education is unable to sanction the Lawrences or anyone else who is doing something similar. The department's investigation appears to have concluded that it simply cannot, or will not, sanction those doing something similar.
“While there are certain minimum requirements for home education, the Department of Education is not involved in the excusal of a particular student from attendance in order to participate in home education,” the department said in a summary of its findings shared with VICE News. “Moreover, the district superintendent’s review of home education is limited to ensuring that the minimum educational requirements are met and that the academic assessment report shows that a child is demonstrating reasonable proficiency.”
The rise of neo-Nazi and white supremacist groups has been a significant concern in recent years, and the fact that such groups are actively working to indoctrinate children through homeschooling is alarming. By providing these groups with government recognition and resources, the Department of Education is not only failing to combat systemic racism, but is also legitimizing and empowering groups that promote hate and intolerance.
Source: Vice News