Local News

Actions

Was Buffalo mom jailed over homeschooling decision?

Posted: 8:23 PM, Feb 06, 2017
Updated: 2017-02-09 06:13:46-05

Single mother Kiarre Harris started researching homeschooling last November. She says her two elementary school aged children weren't excelling at Buffalo Public Schools.

"I felt that the district was failing my children and that's when I made the decision to homeschool," Harris said.

Harris said she filed documents at Buffalo City Hall, following all the steps, informing the district of her intent to homeschool her children. According to documents she provided to WKBW, they're dated Dec. 7, 2016 and the district said it received her paperwork.

"I spoke directly to the homeschool coordinator and she told me from this point on my children were officially un-enrolled from school," she said.

UPDATE: Buffalo City Councilman calls arrest "unacceptable"

Things took a turn when she says a week later, Child Protective Services called, wondering why her kids weren't in school.

"I told them that my kids were homeschooled now and that I could furnish the documents if they need to see them," Harris said.

Thinking everything was fine, Harris says she went on with her homeschooling, but then, less than a month later she says she was confronted by CPS workers and police. According to Harris, they told her they had a court order to take her children and when she told them no, she was arrested for obstruction.

She said she hasn't seen her kids in three weeks, and they've been in a foster institution.

The Buffalo Public School District said it cannot comment on this case due to federal laws but said in order for a parent to file for homeschooling, they must have full custody of the children.

Harris said she's a single parent and has always had full custody until her kids were taken away.

When the issue came up at Tuesday's meeting of the Buffalo Common Council, at least one government official sided with Harris. Councilman Ulysees Wingo called Harris's arrest "utterly unacceptable."

"Someone, somewhere messed up, and that someone needs to face the music," Wingo said.