The judge who ordered a North Carolina
homeschooling mother to place her children in public school demanded
all objections to his order to be filed today – the day the mom in the
case observes the Sabbath.
Venessa Mills says she was unable to meet the deadline for two reasons – because it was Sunday and because she was up until midnight assisting her estranged husband to move out of the house as part of the judge's order.
Judge Ned Mangum's ruling that it would be in the "best interests" of the three children, ages 12, 11 and 10, to be placed in public school in compliance with the wishes of the husband, Thomas Mills, in a divorce case, has raised concern throughout the homeschool community nationwide since it was first disclosed by WND last week.
Ms. Mills is accusing the judge of insensitivity to her plight, especially since Mangum recessed a December hearing in the case because of an emergency involving his dog. Originally the deadline for filing the objections was set for Monday, March 16. Following the national publicity the case received, the judge changed the deadline to today – Sunday.
"We can sympathize with Judge Mangum's concern for his dog," said Adam Cothes, who is assisting Ms. Mills with her case. "We really can. But did Judge Mangum compensate Venessa Mills for her emotional distress and wasted money that resulted from his decision to cancel court? No, when he finally got around to issuing a judgment, it was to leave Venessa without any adequate financial support to afford everyday needs, let alone a proper defense of her rights."
Cothes said he and Venessa Mills believe the switch in dates for
objections in the case was a result of the judge's concerns over
national publicity in the case.
"Of course, he is well aware of Venessa Mills' religious beliefs that hold Sunday to be a sacred day, a day of rest and worship unto God, and the most important day of the week for her and her children," said Cothes. "So, again, we can understand that Judge Mangum considers his dog to be important, but what is obvious is that he has no concern for what Venessa Mills' considers important – the Sabbath."