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Posted March 12, 2009

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— A judge in Wake County said three Raleigh children need to go from homeschool to public school. Judge Ned Mangum is presiding over divorce proceeding for Thomas and Venessa Mills.

Venessa Mills is in the fourth year of homeschooling her children who are 10, 11 and 12 years old.

"We have math, reading, (and) we have grammar, science, music,” Venessa Mills said.

Her lessons also have a religious slant and that is at the root of the controversy.

"My teaching is strictly out of the bible and it's very clear, very evident so I just choose to follow the bible,” Venessa Mills said.

In an affidavit filed Friday during the divorce case, Thomas Mills stated that he "objected to the children being removed from public school." He said Venessa Mills decided to homeschool after getting involved with Sound Doctrine church, "where all children are home schooled."

Thomas Mills also said he was "concerned about the children's religious-based science curriculum" and that he wants "the children to be exposed to mainstream science, even if they eventually choose to believe creationism over evolution."

In a ruling, Mangum said the children should go to public school.

"He was upfront and said it's not about religion, but yet when it came down to his reasons why he said this would be a good opportunity for the children to be tested in the beliefs that I have taught themm," Venessa Mills said.

All sides agree the children have thrived in home school, and Vanessa Mills thinks that's reason enough to continue teaching at home.

"I can not sit back and allow this to happen to other home schoolers. I can't let it happen to my children,” Venessa Mills said.

Judge Mangum wouldn't talk with WRAL News about the details of the case because he hasn't issued a written ruling yet. He expects to sign one in a few weeks.

On March 24, homeschool students and their parents plan to come to Raleigh to lobby state legislators. They want to show they have a voice regarding education.


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