A single mother's decision to home-school her children may have led to her arrest, and her children being taken into foster care by Child Protective Services, even after she says she filed all of the necessary paperwork.
Kiarre Harris, a single mom of two in Buffalo, New York, said her children were not doing well at their public elementary school, and so she made the decision to begin home schooling them. She said that she took all of the steps to formally unenroll her children from the school, WKBW reports.
"I felt that the district was failing my children and that's when I made the decision to home-school," said Harris, who had documents to prove she had gone through the proper channels to take her children out of public school. "I spoke directly to the home school coordinator and she told me from this point on my children were officially unenrolled from school."
The district confirmed it had received the paperwork to take Harris' kids out of school.
Soon after Harris had taken her children out of public school, CPS called her, asking why her children had not come to school recently.
"I told them that my kids were home-schooled now and that I could furnish the documents if they need to see them," said Harris, who said that she thought everything had been settled, and continued home schooling.
After less than a month, CPS workers and police came to Harris' home. CPS said that it had a court order to take Harris' children, and when she refused to hand them over, she was arrested for obstruction.
Harris said that she has not seen her children, who are currently in a foster institution, in three weeks.
At a Buffalo Common Council meeting, Councilman Ulysses O. Wingo Sr. said that Harris' arrest was "utterly unacceptable."
"Someone somewhere messed up, and that someone needs to face the music," said Wingo. "This does not pass the smell test. This looks bad."
Wingo urged the Family Court to return Harris' children to her immediately.
The Buffalo Public School District said that it could not comment on the case, but that parents who file for home schooling must have full custody of their children. Harris said that as a single mother she has always had full custody of her children.