Home-schooling not to blame

April 18, 2018 GMT

Re: “Few rules for home-schooling draws concern; Texas’ oversight is limited,” front page, April 9:

I am writing with great concern regarding this article maintaining that the “few rules” for home-schooling constitute a source of concern in the wake of the recent Austin bombings by Mark Anthony Conditt, who killed himself when cornered by police.

As a home-school graduate who spent approximately half my time as a home-schooled student in the greater San Antonio area, I found the line of reasoning in this article to be egregiously offensive to the general character of home-schoolers in both this state and nationwide.

In cases of violence, the onus should always rest on the criminal in question. To speculate that lack of government oversight over his home-school matriculation had any tangible bearing on his criminal proclivity is not only blatantly calumnious to the well-respected and upstanding home-school community but also tone-deaf for three glaring reasons.

1. Extensive failures of government oversight were the culprit in not following up on red flags in the case of the Parkland, Florida, mass shooting.

2. Conditt more recently attended Austin Community College (2010-12), a public college.

3. While a national story, this news is Austin-centric. That San Antonio Express-News dedicated its front page, above the fold, to questioning (by implication) the moral rectitude of the home-school community at large, which is disquieting, to say the least.

In the cases of points 1 and 2, there were no clarion calls against the educational background of the Parkland shooter, nor did the Express-News see fit, apparently, to take Austin Community College to task. Nor am I implying that that should have been the case.

As previously stated, it is best to place the blame for criminal acts squarely at the feet of the criminals unless they were expressly compelled by external forces to commit their misdeeds.

That the Express-News saw fit to go out of its way to single out a so-called lack of institutional oversight for home-schoolers (of which there is a sizable population in this city) reveals a degree of bias that I am saddened was so publicly advertised.

I gained so much respect for the fine profession of journalism growing up reading the San Antonio Express-News as a home-school student in the Alamo City, and I’ve defended and promoted this publication wherever I’ve lived over the years, both state and nationwide.

This headline left me embarrassed and ashamed of my local paper. On behalf of every home-school student, family and graduate in the greater San Antonio area, I believe an effusive apology is in order from the San Antonio Express-News.

Trey Felder lives in San Antonio.