S P E C I A L F E A T U R E
Truant: When Shopping was a Bad Idea
As Advantage Preparatory School home schooling mom Linda Childers put it: It wasnt just a bad idea, it was no idea at all. I was just brain-dead when I let them go to the mall, alone during school hours.
But, there was nothing to be done. The three home schooled girls had been cited for violation of daytime curfew at Northridge Fashion Square and the court date was set.
Fortunately, APS requires all families to be members of Home School Legal Defense Association. Attorneys J. Michael Smith and David E. Gordon flew to Los Angeles from HSLDAs headquarters in Virginia. Having worked with the families by phone, fax, and FedEx, the men arrived one day prior to the court date. Not bad for an $85 per year membership fee!
The day began at 8:00 a.m. in the Van Nuys Superior Court Building. As David Gordon spoke with the families and reassured the girls, Michael Smith worked with the bailiff to arrange to be seen.
Some courts allow people with legal representation to been seen first, Smith explained, however, this court does not.
Once all the families questions were answered, the six parents, three girls, two attorneys and one APS Headmaster entered the waiting area. The group waited with several dozen other alleged juvenile offenders.
In about an hour, the bailiff called out loudly: Childers, Mancinelli, Phillipps. The girls, their parents, and attorneys were escorted into one of the courtrooms, leaving APS Headmaster, Richard Grant behind in the waiting area.
Once inside, the attorneys dealt with some procedural issues and then explained the situation to the judge. Being unfamiliar with family-based education, she asked Smith to explain why parents choose to teach their children at home. That was all Smith needed. He made three main points:
Smith next explained that California requires private schools to annually file an affidavit. Having done so, APS is a private school that happens to support home schooling. The judge examined the affidavit and was satisfied. She was also interested to learn that, on the day of the citations, public schools near the Northridge mall were not in session!
- Parents want their children well grounded in the basics.
- Parents no longer trust traditional schools.
- A majority want to pass their religious traditions to their children.
Though unusual for an arraignment, the case was dismissed!
It appeared that the involvement of all parents and APS affidavit were major contributors in the judges decision. Everyone was relieved and gave thanks to the Lord for His mercy.
Then all 12 went out for a celebratory breakfast.
Excerpted from an article by Richard Grant published in The Lions Roar newsletter.
Grant is the administrator of Advantage Preparatory Schools, Santa Clarita, CA,
a private school which enrolls local home schooling students.