Local News

Home school mom misses deadline to amend custody order

Posted March 16, 2009

— The Wake County mother protesting a judge’s order that her children switch from home school to public school failed to respond to a request for changes to that order Sunday.

As part of divorce proceedings, Thomas Mills asked Judge Ned Mangum to rule that his three children – ages 10, 11 and 12 – be sent to public school. This children’s mother, Venessa Mills had been home schooling them for four years, Thomas Mills said.

Woman's children ordered into public classrooms Woman's children ordered into public classrooms

The couple had until Sunday to propose changes to a temporary custody order that the judge will sign.

Venessa Mills said she wanted to change the order, but had not filed her changes to the judge by the Sunday deadline. A spokesperson said Venessa Mills was busy observing the Sabbath and helping her husband move out of the house.

In his request to the judge, Thomas Mills 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."

Venessa Mills allowed that her lessons have a religious slant, but argued that her children have tested two years above their grade level. She thinks that should be reason enough to continue teaching at home.

In an oral ruling, Mangum agreed that the children should go to public school. The judge declined to talk about the details of the case until he has issued a written ruling, which is expected to happen in about three weeks.

Venessa Mills is seeking different representation after her attorney, Kathryn Schiller, balked at the attention being drawn to the case. Schiller gave notice Sunday that she planned to end her service to Mills.


This story is closed for comments.

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  • care Mar 16, 2009

    There are two sides to every story. There is a lot the media is not telling you as well as Mrs. Mills. Judge Mangum is actually taking a lot of heat for doing what is right for these children. He has information that we do not have and if you knew what he knows you would know why is having them not taught by the mother and why a mental evaluation is being ordered. You would also not to be so quick to jump to her rescue. Please consider this and stop posting about a subject that you don't have the full story to. It only adds fuel to the fire and these children and their mental and emotional well being is at stake.

  • care Mar 16, 2009

    Very interesting.

  • Inspired Mar 16, 2009

    Dear Hereandnow, my point was "freedom" - you and I both may think that it's laughable to believe the Earth is only 6,000 years old and we may be disgusted at subservient views of woman. People have a fundamental right in this country to home school their children. I was making a larger point about the dangers of limiting and taking away our rights, as well as questioning the ulterior motives of the father.

  • JustOneGodLessThanU Mar 16, 2009

    Inspired, why don’t you think the father is acting in the best interest of his children? He’s trying to stop his wife from continuing to teach their children that the earth is 6000 years old, women should serve men and never have authority over them and all kinds of other archaic “values” that contradict things like the laws of physics and modern civility. Check out the website of the church that she follows for her lessons...it’s like a step back into the Dark Ages. These children are clearly better off the further they are away from mom’s fantasies. And the fact that she failed to file before the deadline shows us her real priorities...which, in her mind, is clearly NOT the children.

  • colliedave Mar 16, 2009

    so, helping the husband move out was more important than the education of her 3 kids? And couldn't she do this on Saturday? And shouldn't he have already been out?

    She apparently is attending a church that does not allow any work to the done on the Sabbath - literally the seventh day.
    Also, the Consitution prohibits the establishment of a religion (i.e set of beliefs). The fact the Judge has ordered the kids be exposed to the teachings of evolution violates the Consitution. Imagine the outcry should a judge mandate a child be exposed to creationism.

  • FragmentFour Mar 16, 2009

    A judge can order the sky to turn green - doesn't change a thing. I don't think Creationism is a great science direction but if he expects his judgment to be upheld he'd better come up with a REAL GOOD reason. I'm looking forward to seeing how this one plays out in the future.

  • notaproblem Mar 16, 2009

    What was the reason the judge decided they needed to go to a public school?

  • cartman Mar 16, 2009

    "Public (government) school is NOT inherently better nor accepted. If he's against homeschool and she's against government school, then they're at a stalemate, no? What to do???"

    Since they can't decide, you do what the average family would do, which is public school.

  • skaternum Mar 16, 2009

    Based on what I've read about this case, it doesn't seem to be about the merits of home schooling at all. It's about parental rights. Divorced parents disagree about stuff all the time, from medical care for the kids to how to educate them. It's not uncommon for a judge to be forced to intervene -- happens all the time.

    In this case, the question at hand was exposing the kids to evolution vs. creationism. In my opinion, the judge did the right thing by choosing the most inclusive choice. In order to ensure that the kids could learn about BOTH, he had to order that they be sent to a place that exposes them to evolution -- public schools.

    I don't see the problem.

  • JAT Mar 16, 2009

    so, helping the husband move out was more important than the education of her 3 kids? And couldn't she do this on Saturday? And shouldn't he have already been out?

    From the original story, even the woman's dad said he was concerned about her stability. I guess the father figured he couldn't get custody but he could at least get them into a regular school where she'd have less influence on them.