Christian Couple Fights Texas Officials After Homeschooled Children Forcibly Removed From Home

Mr. and Mrs. TuttDALLAS – Four of seven children who were forcibly removed from their home in Texas have now been returned to their parents after the Christian couple spent two months battling the government in court over their right to homeschool.

Trevor and Christina Tutt of Dallas have several years of experience helping at-risk children through both CPS foster care and the ministry Safe Families. In addition to five biological children (three of whom are now grown and living outside their home), the Tutts have three adopted children and are in the process of adopting another child.

“We very much want God to bring our new children, the children that He wants to be in our family, so we are open to whatever children He sends,” Mrs. Tutt told in late 2011. “Because of our experience with our children, we are specially equipped to handle children with special needs. In fact, we look for children with those special needs because there are so many children out there languishing in foster care because people don’t want to adopt a child who has extra challenges. It isn’t for everyone, but it is definitely for us!”

Mr. and Mrs. Tutts’ commitment to their children—both educationally, with their homeschooling, and spiritually, with their Christian faith—is known throughout their community. Not only have they been spotlighted in outlets such as KIWI Magazine, but they were also featured speakers during Lake Pointe Church’s 2012 Adoption and Foster Care Conference.

However, in September, a local police officer contacted CPS officials after finding that a child temporarily in the Tutts’ care—a four-year-old with autism—had wandered a short distance away from their home. Even though Mr. Tutt was nearby, searching for the child, the police officer’s report led to a CPS investigation.

According to a recent article from the Texas Home School Coalition (THSC), a CPS caseworker investigated the Tutt family’s home and concluded by saying, “There is no problem here.” However, the caseworker also remarked,“Nobody in their right mind would want to stay home all day with so many children!” and ordered Mrs. Tutt to enroll in parenting classes and take a psychological examination.

Despite the fact that Mrs. Tutt showed CPS workers numerous parenting class certificates and paperwork certifying her mental health, a local judge ordered the Tutts’ seven children to be removed from the home. In November, armed constables seized the children and kept them under government custody for nearly two months.

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Tim Lambert, president of THSC, asserts in the article that the seizure was unlawful, since—as described in Chapter 262 of Texas Family Code—“removal from the home requires immediate threat of harm to children.”

According to reports, government officials were allegedly displeased with the family’s homeschooling. THSC advises that the Tutts were informed that their children were not “properly educated” and were being “brainwashed” by their homeschooling parents.

Last month, during a hearing that lasted for eight hours, Mrs. Tutt’s faith and homeschooling liberties were again called into question.

“The hearing quickly devolved into a relentless attack on this family’s religious beliefs, community service, and right to home school their children—with no legal basis at all,” Lambert reports. “CPS attorneys berated Mrs. Tutt for not using a ‘state-certified home school curriculum,’ in spite of the fact that there is no such thing in Texas. The guardian ad litem denigrated her for not submitting documentation of her home schooling to the state on a regular basis, including state-mandated tests. This, of course, is not only not required, but there is no way for someone to do so in Texas.”

Following the hearing, Judge Graciela Olvera ruled that the Tutts’ children should be kept under government foster care and not returned to their parents, based on CPS arguments about the children being homeschooled. Judge Olvera also ruled that both Mr. and Mrs. Tutt should participate in parenting classes, drug and alcohol testing, psychological evaluations, psychiatric evaluations and personal counseling. However, as no evidence of parental abuse or neglect was ever mentioned in the hearing or the original removal affidavit filed with the judge, the family appealed the ruling.

During a second hearing this week, a local judge once again considered the Tutt family’s case. According to an update from friends of the family, the judge admitted that there was no evidence of abuse or neglect found in the Tutts’ home and conceded that the children should not have been removed from their home in the first place. She thus overturned Olvera’s ruling, which was not based on abuse findings, but rather complaints about homeschooling.

As a result, four of the children have now been returned to their parents, but are required to attend public school while officials conduct an educational evaluation. The other three children have not yet been returned home, according to reports. Supporters of the Tutt family describe this latest development as “not a victory or defeat” but rather “a sidestep,” and they confirm that “home schooling was the main issue” with the legal proceedings.

Overall, Lambert described the court procedure as “a massive beatdown of homeschooling” and told Christian News Network that the Tutt family’s situation should be of concern to other homeschooling families.

“This case exemplifies the new attack against parental rights and home schooling in which a family court judge who has a low view of parental rights believes he/she has the authority to decide what is ‘in the best interest’ of the children in question,” he stated. “This is a grave new concern for families who are pursuing home schooling or some other decision for their children that society might find unorthodox.”

Photo: Facebook

Editor’s Note: Those wishing to support the Tutt family can like their Facebook page or sign their online petition surrounding the family’s right to homeschool their children.

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  • Laura

    There are resources out there for homeschooling parents. Such as HSLDA. HomeSchool Legal Defense Association and Wrightslaw which will go to bat for you in legal cases.

  • Sir Tainly

    Public school, home school, or private school….parent’s choice, period.

    Unless abuse is an issue, and abuse never happens in schools, right?….nevermind.

    • Mark

      At least no shootings in home schools.

  • Tom Feldo

    Our kids are recent public school graduates and they had an excellent education. As Christians, we should not be so quick to put every school into the same category and blast them all. My wife and I sent our kids to the public schools because we knew the schools were good and that our kids could be salt and light in a key way. I would never bash parents for home schooling or sending their kids to a private school. Yes, this article paints a horrible picture…of one school district…not every district.

    • Jennifer D.

      Tom, while I agree with you, I would like to point out the following. The reason so many homeschoolers are upset and afraid of the government and the public school system is because this is not an isolated incident. This is a real danger each homeschool family has to prepare for. We even have an organization that we join that will provide legal services if this happens to us. Now I’d like you to think of all the parents of public school children that deal with the same issues. Anyone you know that have had their children taken away because they put their children in a public school that is failing to teach them….anyone you know that has had their children taken because the CPS worker thinks they are mentally ill for wanting to be away from their children for over 40hours/week….anyone you know that have been ordered by a court to quit their day job and homeschool their children because it has been proven to be a better education in general….any organization out there that is dedicated to the legal defense of public schoolers because they are routinely abused and descriminated against by the ‘law’? I am not a betting gal, but I will bet that you can’t give me ONE name for any of those questions. I can give you several that I personally know if you change the word ‘public’ to ‘home’. So while we might get upset and verbally ‘bash’ CPS and the public school system, at least we don’t do any of the above. Our children are being STOLEN from us, whether it is for good, for 3months or just from 8am-3pm. Yeah, it is scary and upsetting. Have a little more patient with us…K?

    • This case is a stepping stone, inspired by demonic activity (“We wrestle not against flesh and blood…”). This case is going to be used to get Texas to place some laws on their books about homeschooling. It’s part of a strategy across the nation. This is why the attorneys asked about regularly submitting testing results to the state knowing there was no such law/requirement and therefore no way to do so. It is the intent of the enemies of homeschooling to universalize standards for homeschooling as in public ed.

      Is this such a bad thing? Not necessarily, but it is being used as a club of conformity: it is being used to separate families. It is being used to curtail freedom of religion. It is being used by the “powers that be” to reform the mores of society.

      The Social Worker imposed her own belief system upon this family via her comments “no one in their right minds would want to stay home all day with do many children…” This goes against Social Work standards of practice. She was tasked with discovering abuse, but found none. Proof of parental class training was provided but ignored to suit the Social Worker’s personal beliefs.

      The implication here is that “Christians are mentally ill”. This homeschooling issue is the presenting issue, but the fact of the matter is they want the only opportunity to indoctrinate the youth (and it matters not if the parent is not Christian if the parents’ beliefs are different from the State’s, they too are subjected to the same mistreatment).

  • Another example of radical anti-Christian leftist bigots abusing power and forcing their agenda through government tyranny on peaceful law abiding citizens. Apparently, if you violate their sick and twisted sense of morality by refusing to send your children to state run schools for indoctrination in secular humanism, they have the right to come take them from you, destroy your family and reputation in the process, and feel righteous and justified in doing so. These people are godless reprobates. Their behavior is sickening and despicable. Sadly, situations like this are happening more and more in America. We need to stand up for our rights and hold these people accountable for their criminal actions.

  • jonathan L Flaum

    With nazi like tactics to remopve children from chistian parents
    all I can say is heil hitler

  • Adam

    After reading this article, I don’t want to have children ever, unless God wills it. Just by having a child in today’s world, they belong to Satan (the government) automatically.

  • Debbie

    I think there is a lot more to this story than we are hearing. I am an adoptive parent of 8 children that I homeschool in Texas in the same region as this family. CPS was aware and very supportive of our decision to homeschool our kids. I will state that while the kids were foster placements they attended public school. We did not start homeschooling until the adoption was final. CPS could careless that we homeschool. They were more interested in seeing that the kids had a safe, loving home where they could all stay together. We fostered for years before adopting. I never once had a child in my home that CPS took because of how the kids was schooled. I had plenty of kids in my home that had unexplained bruises and broken bones, were found unsupervised in unsafe conditions and were born positive for drugs. I do not think the CPS wants anyones kids just because they homeschool.

    • Anonymous

      Your correct. CPS does not want a family’s kids just because they are home-schooled. Unless of course the family happen to be born-again Bible-believing Christians who also home-school, then CPS would most definitely “want them”. This is what happened to this poor family!

    • It’s great that you had a good experience working with CPS. Not all CPS workers, judges and other authorities are unreasonable, as in your case. However, I’ve been following the homeschooling movement for decades now, as my niece was home schooled for a while, and I’ve study the legal challenges and changes during this time across the nation. Some changes have been for the better, but I know evil is afoot; it always is, because demonic forces hate what God has authored for humanity: liberty, family, love and all good. God said that the thoughts he has toward us are to do us good. Satan does not want us to discover what is good. He cloaks himself within the garments of good to deceive us.

      Not all homeschoolers are equipped to take up the mantel of education, and that’s why there are organizations to assist them. Not all public school educators are bad or like the culture that has been cultivated in the public ed or private ed world. Just because this is doesn’t mean we should ignore obvious and not so obvious attacks upon the liberties of individuals in the name of “good”. Being valiant for the truth takes efforts beyond one’s own experiences. Look outside of yourself, and examine truly what has been said in the article.

      I’m not being belligerent by asking you to THINK (dwell upon) and then think again by asking God to reveal his will and Satan’s anytime you come across anything you read. Is this an isolated incidence or is this a trend occurring?

  • If the judge’s ruling was really this blatant, she should feel a lot of heat in various forms. Also, why is the Republican governor not stepping in to help?

    • True. Let’s pray to this end, for “nothing is done effectual without prayer.” The Republicans are not the answer to what ails us, God is, and we have to pray for them that have the rule over us that we may lead peaceable lives, via the admonishment of the Apostle Paul, thus God’s word.

  • Fran

    I suspect that all the officials involved with this action are also anti-Christian and just abused their power.
    It seems today that every time Christian comes up in others areas as well, there’s an anger flare up.
    Everyone has a right to their opinion except us.
    This is a form of discrimination. There a some people who love children and we’re not insane because
    we might have a big family. I think that caseworker and judge should be held accountable for this
    violation of justice. Why isn’t somebody taking them to task?


  • Thom Dunbar III

    I just decided yesterday that people like those who unlawfully removed these children from their parents care without reason will be referred to by me as “evil” – following what the Bible says about those who practice wrong-doing. They are so full of hate towards God and those follow and worship Him, and those who teach their children to do so. They are following their own father, the devil, in rebelling against God and His Laws. I pray that they acknowledge Him and repent while still in this life, so that they might escape the forever darkness of being separated from their Creator.

  • els

    How appalling! God bless them for wanting to take care of these kids the rest of society has rejected.

  • Betty

    Nathan Smith, does absolute truth exist?