By Terri LaPoint / Health Impact News
It will be at least “6 more weeks of kidnapping” for the 7 homeschooled, homebirthed Stanley children, according to their father. Hal and Michelle Stanley were given no warning that their court hearing scheduled for Feb. 12 would be postponed until March 23. They say they were not given any explanation.
They had been under the impression that their children would be coming home after the hearing, and had held onto the hope that the crazy situation would be resolved, and their family would be reunited. The pain in their voices was palpable as they expressed their disappointment and grief over the postponement.
The father explains to Health Impact News that they are only allowed to visit with their children a few hours a week, under strict supervision. There has to be two observers, and if they talk about things they are not supposed to discuss with their children, the visit is cut short. As a condition to these supervised visits, Hal and Michelle must attend “parenting classes,” even though they have homeschooled their children for many years. Hal Stanley is also a 73-year-old ordained Southern Baptist minister.
Chicken and sausage gumbo was simmering on the stove, and company was expected on the evening of January 12. Instead of welcome guests, a full tactical team surrounded the Stanley home.
Garland County Sheriff’s Deputies and DPS entered their home, demanding that Hal and Michelle wait outside in the cold while they searched the house and talked to the children. There were reportedly at least 30 people, including a SWAT team, Arkansas state troopers, a coroner, a doctor, a dozen cars, a medical van, and a sniper in a ditch allegedly aiming at the parents on the front porch.
Neighbors have questioned the need for such an excessive show of force for a 73-year-old man and a mama whose primary concern is the well-being of their children.
The search warrant was for a water purifier product known as MMS, a substance which is not approved by the FDA for health claims. It is not illegal to possess, however, and may readily be obtained online legally. Hal Stanley reports that he uses it for his garden, where he raises much of the family’s food. He also reports that, if they had simply asked for it, he would have given it to them and avoided much pain.
There was no indication that the children were going to be removed until near the end of the five-hour ordeal. By then, it was after 9 pm, yet the children were allegedly not even permitted to eat their supper before being hauled away from their home. They were told to pack two days worth of clothes. But the parents were not permitted to help the little ones pack.
[Other reporting suggests that the two eldest children, desiring to be in public school, may have had the initial contact with authorities. — DJT]