Katy S
Do any of you in public libraries have experience with homeschool parents and homeschool groups that request separate programming because they don't want their children to mix with public school kids? Or who say that they don't want their kids involved in programs because of the presence of public school kids?
I've heard a few people I know talk about this lately, and I wondered how widespread it is. I was also wondering how you approach the situation. - Katy S
Huh. We have a fairly large contingent of homeschoolers in our area, but they seem to be ok with mixing with public school folks when they are here. I don't think we've ever gotten a request to segregate programming or anything for them. - WebGoddess
It could be something specific to this area. Fwiw, there's also a church-based private school in the area that tells its students to not attend the county fair for the same reason. (This amuses me because I remember when this school was where the troublemakers who were expelled from the public schools were sent.) - Katy S
That's pretty pathetic. It's like they want to just be in a separate world. I feel for those kids when one day they'll come into unsupervised contact with cold hard reality and us unwashed public school heathens. Good grief. It really is just a new form of segregation, though at least it's done privately and not on such a large scale, though that's pretty disgusting that a church school would instruct its students not to intermingle with others. - Kamilah Reed (K. Gill)
I'm really trying to not judge their choice right now. I'm more interested in how people approach the situation or how they would approach the situation (or even if they've had it come up). A lot of libraries do off-site children's programming for daycares and pre-schools, so I'm wondering if this sort of separate programming would really be different. - Katy S
Sorry, but that pushed my buttons. You have a lot of disturbing stories about people in northern Indiana. I understand that you have to just work with them, whatever bag they might be coming out of. Of course I'm not a librarian and I have nothing really constructive to add in that way, so, again, sorry. - Kamilah Reed (K. Gill)
I, for one, appreciate Kamilah's input. - Joe
It's okay. I just wanted to be clear that I wasn't trolling for anti-homeschooler sentiments or things like that. I know it's an extreme situation and, to be honest, I have some things I could say about it. - Katy S
This sounds less like a homeschooling issue and more like a religious issue? And by that I mean, there is nothing specific to homeschooling that says "stay away from public school kids". People can choose to do it for a variety of reasons that aren't necessarily about separating their kids from the world (in some cases they want to expose their children to MORE of the world than public school would). - Meg VMeg
I have heard of requests for programming during the school day on occasion in communities where there were a lot of homeschoolers. I could see doing something of that nature if it were more of a "how to use a library" --esp as the public library is the school library. I've not heard of it being done in an attempt to protect the children from the insidious influence. - Hedgehog
Meg - A lot of the homeschool kids here are homeschooled for religious reasons, but not all of them are. From what I understand, though, not all of those making these requests are the ones who are homeschooling for religious reasons. Some are worried about behavioral issues with public school kids, I guess. - Katy S
Bleah, that sounds hard :( - Meg VMeg
My library hosts homeschool groups when they want a common place to meet about a certain lesson or project, but not something like this. My question would be how long do they not want their children to mingle with public school children. Our universities and colleges are filled with them. - Andy
I'm not a public librarian, but fwiw, I would stick to the policies of the library and explain that the conduct policy applies to all members and that there will be no pre-emptive exclusions of people who *might* misbehave. - kaijsa
I suspect that their idea of bad behavior is more stringent. Or, perhaps they have somehow acquired the idea that all public school kids are troublemakers. I don't know. I just find the whole situation interesting, in part because it's leaving the librarians feeling like any attempt to reach out to the local homeschooling community is a waste of time. - Katy S
it's not the library's job to police morals for individual citizens; it's the library's job to provide access to community programming and resources for all citizens. you treat this group no differently per your library's policies than you would any other group. If other groups are given segregated access and events, then you give it to them. if other groups are not, you do not. - Jenica
What Jenica said. Although, second thoughts are making me wonder if this could be something that could be monetized. If you are doing the same program but for another group, the majority of prep work is there already. If there is a demand, why not make it a revenue stream? I can hear the chorus of howls at such an idea, so it is not for everyone. FWIW, I did a computer basics class for an church based unemployment group last year; while it was ultimately open to everyone, it was also tailored for that audience. - Andy
As a public library patron and taxpayer, allow me to offer my howl of pain. "Monetized" special services are almost always subsidized (staff time, the building itself, etc., etc.), and thus represent special treatment for a certain class of patron. [Different than having fee programs because of special costs, programs designed for all library users. Although those are tricky as well.] - walt crawford
Given that, at least Back In The Day, the usual rule for outside groups using meeting rooms was that the event had to be open to the general public--then fuck no would I have ever allowed library staff to run programs that weren't open to the general public. To parents who voiced concern about mixing, I would express polite regret and graciously agree with them that parents should use their own discretion in choosing or supporting their children's activities. - Mark Kille
@Andy: there are a number of colleges that market themselves to home-schooled children of conservative Christian families. - Mark Kille
And after attending these "colleges," I assume the children, ever so carefully protected from the rest of us, will be given plum jobs in organizations that only hire and sell to home-schooled conservative Christians, presumably in walled neighborhoods. Sigh... - walt crawford
Walt - Or, if it's Patrick Henry http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki..., prized government internships. - Katy S