A Canadian court ruled this week that Canada can assume permanent guardianship of two children whose parents were raising them to become Neo-Nazis.
The kids have been in foster care since 2008. They were removed from their parents’ home after the oldest, an 8-year-old girl, came to school with “racist writings and symbols” drawn on her skin.
The girl and her brother were taken into foster care after social workers testified that the child used racial epithets to describe blacks and other minorities. One also reported that she calmly described how black people could be killed using a ball and chain.
Social workers also claimed that the children suffered neglect. They were being raised in a reportedly “squalid” home. Neither parent worked a steady job. Provincial lawyers claimed they were not “emotionally equipped” to provide a proper home.
The case is interesting because it raises the question of what consititutes a state interest in removing children from a parent’s home. On the one hand, the state clearly doesn’t want to say everyone is free to raise their children as violent bigots. A whole generation of Neo-Nazis would be a disaster for Canada, or any country.
On the other hand, what exactly were the parents guilty of in this case? Ideological abuse? Poor housekeeping?I don’t want to get behind any government that takes children from their parents simply because the parents disagree with the government’s values.
What do you think? Clearly there’s more going on in this case than can be crammed into a short newspaper article or blog post. But just taking it at face value, does the government have the right or responsibility to intervene when children are being taught to hate? Or is it a parent’s right to share their beliefs with their children, no matter how repugnant the society at large finds them?
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