"I've been summoned for jury duty! What do I do?"
We frequently hear this question from our members. In general, excuses from jury duty are only granted in hardship situations. The questionnaire received with the initial summons provides a number of excuses, which, if they apply, a home schooler may use. You must keep in mind, however, that it must be a hardship situation. For instance, having dependent children is not necessarily an excuse, UNLESS you are nursing a child, or there is no available child care (no nearby relatives or neighbors), or it is a financial hardship to obtain child care. If you have children at home, the government will expect you to pay for baby sitting.
Other hardship circumstances which may also apply, include no transportation and no available public transportation, or perhaps the distance required to travel daily might be more than an hour or an hour and a half. In addition, if you have a medical condition which would interfere with the performance of your duty, you may be able to get excused.
If there are no excuses on the jury questionnaire which would apply to you, you may use home schooling. However, if you have not complied with the law in your state, claiming to be a home schooler could present some problems and if you wish to preserve your anonymity, you may have to "bite the bullet" and do your time on jury duty.
If you choose to cite home schooling as your excuse, you may say that you are home schooling your children, you are the only teacher, you cannot arrange for a substitute, and doing jury duty would be disruptive to your child's education. The law requires children to be in school and as a home educator you are required to do so many of hours of instruction.
If you reside in a state where home schools operate as private schools you may say that you are operating a private school, that you are the only teacher, you cannot arrange for a substitute, and doing jury duty would be disruptive to the children's education.
If you are not excused from jury duty, you may address a letter of appeal to the judge requesting an exemption. However, if he does not excuse you, you will be required to report for jury duty.
Things You Should Not Do:
- Do not wait until the last minute to complete the questionnaire. You may need time to file an appeal.
- Do not fail to report for jury duty. You will be in contempt of court and there will be a fine and possible jail time. HSLDA cannot guarantee representation if you fail to show up for jury duty.
- Do not report for jury duty with your children.
To all at HSLDA,
Just a note in response to the Sept.-Nov. Court Report:
Thanks for all your work and for the encouragement to the homeschoolers (especially Moms!).
Socialization? Recently I've reaped a big reward when my oldest son said he wanted to buy his younger brothers and sister presents for his birthday, adding with a big smile on his face, "I don't know what I'd do without them." Through all the sibling squabbles and teasing, we're raising a close loving family. That's the best "socialization."
Love in Christ,
The Borton Family
David & Dorothy, Tim (16), D.J. (13), Laura (10), Jeremy (7)