California Lawmaker threatens legislation in wake of Turpin Family Horror

Why another Law Won’t Work

A husband and wife were recently arrested and charged with torture and child endangerment in the case of their 13 children. Those children range in ages from two years old to 29.

When my wife first mentioned this situation to me, I rejected it out of hand. I didn’t want to involve myself emotionally in the case. Assuming that this was a local issue, I figured it would go away in a few days as the news cycle proceeded through the litany of situations around the country that would enrage, enthrall, and otherwise entertain the masses.

To be sure, this situation will pass out of the news cycle. All situations do. However, I did get caught up in it after reading an article in the paper. Now I’m invested.

This entire case sickens me. That they apparently made the children memorize long portions of scripture and homeschooled the kids (unclear of what ages were being taught) makes it even worse. What a blight this puts on the believers who also homeschool and make their kids memorize scripture! I am comforted only on the fact that David Allen Turpin and Louise Anna Turpin will have to stand before God regardless of what the State of California says (and they will stand before the State of California obviously, as they should).

As soon as I found out that they homeschooled the kids (of course they did…they had to keep their lives a secret), I knew that someone would initiate a plan to regulate homeschooling. Politicians can’t not regulate a problem once it arises.

The fact is, however, that there are already regulations on the books that would have given the local authorities an opportunity to know if the kids were being mistreated. Perris city fire officials should have checked the home yearly for fire regulations compliance.

Here is the statute that requires inspections:

California State Health and Safety Code 13145 – The State Fire Marshal, the chief of any city or county fire department or district providing fire protection services, and their authorized representatives, shall enforce in their respective areas building standards relating to fire and panic safety adopted by the State Fire Marshal and published in the State Building Standards Code and other regulations that have been formally adopted by the State Fire Marshal for the prevention of fire or for the protection of life and property against fire or panic.

You might assume that the reaction would be to discipline whomever was in charge of ensuring compliance through fire regulations.

No word on that.

Instead, Assemblymember Jose Medina, a democrat, has released a statement to the effect that he is, “extremely concerned about the lack of oversight the State of California currently has in monitoring private and home schools.”

No call for those who should have visited the house to be disciplined. No argument that the individuals who messed up by not following local regulations should be fired for the gross negligence. Just more regulation. The reason for that is that local fire marshals rely on entities (and individuals) to self-report. There was a case in San Diego not too long ago where a platform collapsed in a gym. In San Diego, as in Riverside (which has oversight of Perris City fire safety), there seems to be a misplaced trust in organizations self-reporting fire inspections requirements. That’s not what the state code stipulates.

This is not the answer to the problem. We don’t know how much money this new regulation will cost, but some person will undoubtedly need to track homeschool entities throughout the state to ensure compliance, schedule home visits, input data into various tracking databases, etc. I’d argue that this will most likely take several people in each school district (assuming any future legislation will track this information through the school district, which I do).

These are people not teaching children in public schools. So instead of finding a way to better fund schools to make them more attractive to homeschooling parents who may be interested in returning to local schools, Assemblymember Medina will have the state add a financial and personnel burden to the very people he should be trying to help.

Stop knee-jerk reactions that add a regulatory burden to law enforcement and other entities. Enforce what’s already on the books. Then, if it isn’t enough, then we can look into more legislation.

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