In October of 2021 The Coalition of Responsible Home Education proudly joined 56 other children’s rights and child protection organizations as a member of the National Coalition to End Child Marriage in the United States. In joining the coalition, we pledged our support to the mission to end marriage below the age of 18 within the United States and to repeal loopholes and exceptions that may promote child marriage.
CRHE’s monitoring and analysis of homeschool abuse cases reveal how child marriage can intersect with abuse in homeschool settings.
CRHE lists over a dozen cases of forced child marriage in our Homeschooling’s Invisible Children database. These cases show how permissive homeschool laws often shield adults who are forcing children into early marriages.
- Angel Dwyer was forced by her mother to marry at age 13, whereupon she was physically abused by her husband. Angel and her siblings were homeschooled for their entire lives in a secular family. Angel, now Angel McGehee, is currently a homeschooling mother who advocates against child marriage.
- Children of Lev Tahor: Lev Tahor, a Jewish sect located in Quebec, Canada, came under scrutiny from child welfare officials in 2013 amid concerns of psychological abuse, physical abuse, sexual abuse, improper education, medical neglect, and underage marriages. The sect’s children were homeschooled, and officials learned that girls were not receiving the same education as boys.
- Children by Tony Alamo: Six girls were taken as child brides and sexually abused by Tony Alamo, a fundamentalist minister and leader of the cultlike Tony Alamo Christian Ministries. Alamo claimed that all the children were homeschooled, although their homeschool program was not registered
- The Girls Who Got Away: A report from Washington Examiner describes childhood marriage among Yemeni-Americans in Dearborn, Michigan, noting, “Early marriages often result in Yemeni girls being pulled from the public school system. … Michigan’s relatively flexible homeschooling laws might be one reason these dropouts aren’t always flagged and investigated.”
Prominent child marriage advocates have also spoken at homeschooling conventions and even convened pro-child marriage conferences.
CRHE’s Bill of Rights for Homeschooled Children affirms for homeschooled children “the right to be treated and allowed to act in developmentally appropriate ways; the right to be a child.” Joining the National Coalition to End Child Marriage is another expression of our support for that principle: every homeschooled child has the right to be a child.