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A Kentucky “off-grid” family had their 10 children seized this week by authorities, and their supporters say they were targeted “simply because the government disagrees with their lifestyle and their educational choices.”
An anonymous tip sent sheriff’s deputies Wednesday to the 26-acre rural Breckenridge County home of Joe and Nicole Naugler, who document their “back to basics” lifestyle on social media.
Authorities ordered Joe Naugler to hand over all the children Thursday morning or face felony charges, and the family believes they were removed due to their “unschooling.”
The Nauglers follow the so-called unschooling method that allows children to learn through natural experiences – including play, household chores, travel, and personal courses of study.
A family friend said that’s the way all children learned before public schooling.
“You let your kids decide the curriculum,” said family friend Pace Ellsworth. “In unschooling, education doesn’t take a backseat. It’s listening to what they’re interested in and fascinated in.”
The Nauglers will be told why the children were removed during an upcoming family court hearing, and they will likely be ordered to comply with certain guidelines before the children are returned to their custody.
Neighbor Travis Metcalf isn't buying it.
“They're living underneath tarps,” he said. “So kinda take it at that.”
“They delivered a baby up there last winter,” Metcalf said. “It was about 30 degrees below zero; it's no living conditions for a kid at all.”
The Nauglers have depended upon neighbors' private wells or municipal hookups for their drinking water, but a confrontation on Sunday prompted a criminal summons for Joe Naugler on a charge of menacing.
“(Naugler) was turned down for the water request and asked to leave the property,” the summons read. “He then said to his son ‘get the pistol out of the glove compartment box.'”
WAVE 3 News has withheld the complainant's name at her request.
“He (Naugler) was acting very erratically,” the complainant said in an interview Friday. “He was calling us names that I have to spell out. I can't even say 'em. And he said ‘don't worry, I know where you live, and I'm gonna be back.'”
Now, the mom got unruly when the authorities started trying to question the teens separately from her, which is bad form, I agree.
I hope people are loving the progressive utopia they keep voting for