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Wingo calls homeschooling arrest "unacceptable"

Buffalo mom arrested for "educational neglect"
Posted: 9:04 PM, Feb 07, 2017
Updated: 2017-02-08 04:16:05Z

Councilman Ulysees O. Wingo Sr. says it is "utterly unacceptable" that a Buffalo mother was arrested for "educational neglect" because she decided to homeschool her children.

"Someone, somewhere messed up, and that someone needs to face the music," Wingo said at a Buffalo Common Council meeting Tuesday afternoon.

In December 2016, Kiarre Harris submitted written paperwork notifying the Buffalo School District of her intent to pull her two children from PS 95-Waterfront Elementary and PS 65-Roosevelt ECC.  That paperwork was stamped, indicating the District had received it on December 7th.

"I spoke directly to the homeschool coordinator and she told me from this point on my children were officially un-enrolled from school," Harris told 7 Eyewitness News.

Less than a month later, Harris says she was confronted by CPS workers and police.  Her children were taken and put into foster care, and Harris was arrested and charged.

"This does not pass the smell test.  This looks bad," Wingo said.

"Did anyone from the school reach out to the mother?  We don't know.  It's very important for us to look at the details and get all of the details," Wingo said. 

Wingo is calling on Family Court to return the children to his mother's custody immediately.  Meantime, Harris' case has been sent to the Common Council's Education Committee.

The Buffalo Public School District says it cannot comment on this case due to Federal Laws but says in order for a parent to file for homeschooling, they must have full custody of the children. The District also says that in general, a letter of intent is submitted and it is acknowledged along with the requirements for submitting the individual education plans. The District says the children are not to be taken out of school until such time those plans are approved.