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Michigan

January 9, 2003
The People v. DeJonge
Teacher certification struck down as unconstitutional violation of Free Exercise clause

Filed: 1985.

Nature of Case: Homeschooling parents Mark and Chris DeJonge were arrested and charged with criminal truancy for home schooling their children without being certified teachers.

Rulings:

1985
The DeJonges were convicted in the Ottawa District Court of violating Michigan's instructor certification requirement for home schooling under the compulsory education law
8/9/89
The Court of Appeals affirmed, ruling against the DeJonges. HSLDA appealed the case to the Michigan Supreme Court.
10/17/90
The Michigan Supreme Court remanded the case back to the Court of Appeals to reconsider in light of the recent U.S. Supreme Court decision Employment Division v. Smith.
4/15/91
The Court of Appeals reaffirmed its previous decision. HSLDA appealed to the Michigan Supreme court again.
11/10/92
HSLDA argued before the State Supreme Court.
5/25/93
In a 4-3 vote, the Supreme Court held that the state failed to show that teacher certification requirement for home schooling was the least restrictive means of achieving the state's claimed interest, and thus, the teacher certification requirement violated the Free Exercise clause. The DeJonges' convictions were reversed.

Status: Victory.