A disabled 6-year-old boy who is being reared by members of the polygamous Kingston clan after his mother died following childbirth has not been registered for school.
The family had until last Monday to enroll the boy or file for an exemption."If they don't get him registered or file a release request, I imagine the district is going to act," Doug Bates, attorney for the Office of Education, said. "Permission for home school was never granted. They have been contacted by letter and phone. The district even asked to help in the home, and it was refused."
Typically, about 25 children from polygamous families receive home-school exemptions each year from the Salt Lake School District. Last year, about five of those children were Kingstons. This year, seven children with the Kingston name - and an unknown number of others from the Kingston clan - are on the home-school rolls.
About 150 children receive home-school exemptions each year from Salt Lake City. And while the number of home-schooled children is impossible to track, say state and home-school officials, the Utah Home Education Association lists about 7,000 children who are schooled from home in Utah.
"But again, there are likely others that the school district doesn't know about," Bates said. "We expect many of those are from polygamous families. And that number may be growing."
The 6-year-old boy is the son of Jason Kingston and Andrea Johnson, a 15-year-old girl whose death touched off investigations into her prenatal care. Johnson's sister has said the Kingstons failed to get her help during her pregnancy because they feared authorities would find out Jason Kingston was her half-brother.
Johnson died of eclampsia after doctors performed an emergency Caesarean section to deliver her baby.
Today, the Kingston boy, who uses a wheelchair and who has cerebral palsy, is living with Jason Kingston, a state auditor, and his wife, Rosalind Kingston, according to school district records and a sworn deposition by Rosalind's mother. Rosalind is also Jason Kingston's niece.
Failure to enroll children in a public or "regularly established private school" is a Class B misdemeanor in Utah, unless parents receive a home-school exemption.
Children who are schooled at home must reapply for the public school exemption annually, but education officials say once they leave the school system, it's easy to lose track of them.