Ghastly allegations of child abuse in a California home have led to calls for closer government scrutiny of homeschooling families.
After authorities discovered the horrific abuse by husband and wife David and Louise Turpin, who allegedly starved and imprisoned their 13 children, there is a push in the state to tighten regulations on homeschooling.
Law enforcement authorities have suggested the husband and wife used California's homeschooling laws to keep their children away from public view.
"If this legislation passes," warns Pacific Justice Institute attorney Brad Dacus, "the door will literally be wide open for much greater harassment and much greater threat with regards to parents losing their children permanently by zealous social workers and government agents."
Despite its reputation for regulations and famously left-wing leaders, California currently falls in line with many other states in homeschool requirements.
An interactive map maintained by the Homeschool Legal Defense Association lists California as "states with low regulation," meaning parents are required to send notification to the state but mandatory test scores or other evaluations are not required by law.
California aligns with its neighbors Nevada and New Mexico, and with southern states Mississippi, Alabama and Georgia, among many others, on the HSLDA map.
Only four states, all in the Northeast, are described by the website as "high regulation" with stringent approval by the state.
The horrific accusations about the Turpins spawned a Sacramento Bee editorial that demands tighter regulations in the state such as standardized testing and home visits, likening such inspections to visiting private day care centers.
Citing the advice of a Stanford researcher, the editorial also suggests the need for teaching homeschooled students "respect for values beyond those of the parents."
Dacus says homeschool opponents see the Turpin case as an opportunity to seize more government control over homeschooling.
"The recent, unfortunate incident involving one particular homeschooled family," he says, "is no reason for the government to go on a witch hunt with regards to homeschoolers up and down the state of California."