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No More Homeschooling

March 7, 2008 permalink

In a legal case concealed from interested parties until it was a fait accompli, a California court has outlawed homeschooling in that state. Homeschooling in California now requires that the parents hold a valid state teaching credential for the grade being taught. If not reversed, this policy could spread far and wide. Below we have a statement from the Home School Legal Defense Association. There is a radio program on the decision with guest Dr James Dobson (19 megabytes mp3). Here is a link to the full court decision by the California Court of Appeal.



March 6, 2008

Response to Ruling of California Court of Appeal
‘Homeschooling is Illegal in California’

On February 28, 2008, the California Court of Appeals issued a ruling in a juvenile court proceeding that declared that almost all forms of homeschooling in California are in violation of state law. (Private tutoring by certified teachers remains an option.) Moreover, the court ruled that parents possess no constitutional right to homeschool their children.

This family was not a member of Home School Legal Defense Association. They were represented by court-appointed counsel throughout the proceeding. Since it was by law a confidential proceeding, to the best of our knowledge neither HSLDA nor any other legal advocacy organization had any knowledge that the right of all homeschoolers in California was depending upon the outcome of this family’s case.

There are two appellate options at this time.

First, we have been told that the family is appealing this decision to the California Supreme Court with their California counsel.

HSLDA will file an amicus brief on behalf of our 13,500 member families in California. We will argue that a proper interpretation of California statutes makes it clear that parents may legally teach their own children under the private-school exemption. However, if the court disagrees with our statutory argument, we will argue that the California statutes as interpreted by the Court of Appeal violate the constitutional rights of parents to direct the education and upbringing of their children.

HSLDA welcomes other organizations and persons to assist with the amicus process so that a full defense of home education, religious freedom, and parental rights can be given to the California Supreme Court.

The second appellate option is to seek to have this particular decision “depublished.” Depublication is a decision that can only be made by the California Supreme Court. If the Court determines that the decision should stand, regarding this family, on the facts presented, but that the general pronouncements of law for all of homeschooling should not be determined by this case, then the Court has the option of “depublishing” the Court of Appeal’s decision. This would mean that the case is not binding precedent in California and has no effect on any other family.

HSLDA will take the lead in an effort to seek to have this case depublished.

Homeschooling has offered a great opportunity for families to give their children a quality education with a moral and philosophical approach that is consistent with each family's beliefs.

The ability to homeschool freely in California should not depend upon one family in a closed-door proceeding. All families should have the right to be heard since the rights of all are clearly at stake.

To read the court opinion click here.

Source: Home School Legal Defense Association

Addendum: As a result of legal action by the Homeschool Legal Defense Association homeschooling is once again legal in California.



WND Exclusive

Judge dismisses juvenile case prompting homeschool ban

Advocate calls decision 'significant favorable development' for families

Posted: July 12, 2008, 12:30 am Eastern, By Bob Unruh, WorldNetDaily

A judge in California has ended juvenile court jurisdiction over two children in a family case that prompted an appeals court at one point to declare that parents had no right to homeschool their children in the state.

The opinion in the Rachel L. case when WND broke the story in February rocked the foundations of homeschooling in the state and across the nation, because of its implications that without such rights, parents could be liable for civil and criminal penalties simply for teaching their own children at home.

It especially outraged those who opposed California's mandated advocacy for homosexual and other alternative lifestyles in public schools.

The court's effectual ban on homeschooling in California later was dropped when the same panel agreed to rehear the case, and oral arguments on those issues were held last month, with parties ranging from Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger to the state's fire marshals and superintendent of public instruction supporting homeschooling parents.

Now, however, the underlying juvenile court case that prompted the higher court ruling has been dismissed.

A statement from the Home School Legal Defense Association today confirmed, "the juvenile court judge terminated jurisdiction over the two young L. children in a hearing held on July 10, 2008."

It was that family's case that in February attracted the infamous order from the 2nd District Court of Appeal in Los Angeles that was seen as banning homschooling. The family's disputes had been elevated to that level by lawyers pursuing their plan of protections for the children, and they wanted the children ordered into a public school, to which the court agreed.

The juvenile case ruling yesterday doesn't directly make moot the ruling from the appeals court, which is expected at any time, because it comes from an original case filed with the appeals judges

But HSLDA officials told WND they will provide the information about the end of the juvenile case to the appeals court.

"Mr. L.'s appellate attorneys with the Alliance Defense Fund will be making the appellate court aware of this new development immediately. They will move to dismiss the petition pending in the court of appeal on the ground that the petition is now moot," the organization said in a statement. "In other words, the children are no longer under the jurisdiction of the juvenile court. Therefore, any decision by the appellate court based on the two-year-old petition could not be enforced against the L. children."

Michael Farris
HSLDA chairman, Michael Farris

"This is a significant favorable development toward preserving homeschooling freedom in California," said Mike Farris, chairman and founder of HSLDA.

The lead attorney on the appeal, as a representative for the father in the L. case, is Gary Kreep, of the United States Justice Foundation. He was unable to comment on the case directly because of the juvenile proceedings that are involved.

But the HSLDA officials said a petition to the appeals court describing the lower court's actions will be delivered as soon as possible.

A spokesman for HSLDA said the county in the L. family case does have the option of appealing the juvenile court ruling, too.

It was late last month when the 2nd District Court of Appeal in Los Angeles listened to oral arguments in the case.

At issue was the court's decision from four months earlier, on which WND reported, that would have compelled the two children into a public or qualifying private school.

Farris was one of the lawyers appearing at the hearing, and he said the judges specifically asked about the legal support for homeschooling rights, which have been publicly supported in the United States by both members of Congress and President Bush.

Attorneys advocating homeschooling argued that when California in 1967 added the singular word "person" to the list of those that can operate a legitimate private school, it opened the door for homeschooling. "If a person can provide education, if one person can operate a school," argued the attorneys, "then why not a parent?"

Farris said then he urged the judges to take into account the thousands of people who have implied from the 1967 law that homeschooling is permissible "and not willy-nilly overturn that practice."

An estimated 166,000 children are being homeschooled in California, and their parents and advocates have expressed concern that the court's original ruling would leave parents who educate their children at home open to criminal truancy charges and civil charges for child neglect.

Some grounds for that concern may come from the appeal court's first ruling, where it said the trial court had found that "keeping the children at home deprived them of situations where (1) they could interact with people outside the family, (2) there are people who could provide help if something is amiss in the children's lives, and (3) they could develop emotionally in a broader world than the parents' 'cloistered' setting."

Brad Dacus, president of Pacific Justice Institute, which has been representing Sunland Christian School, with whom the L. children were working, was pleased.

"We are still digesting the full impact of this ruling, but it is a major development which should, for all practical purposes, end this case," he said. "Again and again, the court-appointed attorneys for the L. children have relied on the oversight of the juvenile court as the basis for seeking a ruling that this family cannot homeschool. By terminating its jurisdiction, the court has severely undercut this position and yanked the rug out from all who have sought to use this case to criminalize homeschooling. We are hopeful that the Court of Appeal will follow suit and recognize that there is no longer any basis to rule against this family or our clients, Sunland Christian School."

Bob Unruh is a news editor for

Source: World Net Daily