The Home School Court Report
VOLUME XVI, NUMBER 4
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JULY / AUGUST 2000
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Cover Story
Average Families with Outstanding Courage

Special Features

Home Schoolers Making Headlines

HSLDA Debate Tournament: Final Round

National Center Reports

HSLDA Testifies on NAEP Reform

IRS Fines Families for Refusing SSNs

In Our Prayers: The Passing of Sen. Coverdell

Across the States

State by State

Regular Features

In the Trenches

Active Cases

Pending Cases

Staff News

Prayer and Praise

Presidents Page

F. Y. I.

The Widows Curriculum Scholarship Fund

P E N D I N G   C A S E S

California

DeSantis v. Mulvane
Filed: 3/2/00, Central District of California.

Nature of Case: Social workers entered the DeSantis home without consent to investigate allegations of abuse, strip-searched the two younger children, and subjected the six year old to a traumatizing private interview. The DeSantis family is suing the social workers for violating their civil rights.

Status: Discovery has commenced

Harrahill v. City of Monrovia
Filed: 4/28/97, Los Angeles County.

Nature of Case: Five families challenged the constitutionality of the city’s daytime curfew ordinance and obtained a ruling in their favor on 1/27/99.

Ruling: The California Court of Appeals reversed the trial court and remanded the case to the trial court for a ruling on the amended daytime curfew ordinance.

Status: Hearing scheduled for 12/13/2000.

District of Columbia

New v. Perry
Filed: 1/16/96 (writ of habeas corpus), District of Columbia.

Nature of Case: A U.S. soldier ordered to put on UN uniform and to become part of the UN force refused to do so, citing the unconstitutionality of U.S. soldiers donning the uniform of and fighting for a foreign government. The soldier was court-martialed.

Ruling: On 11/25/97, the D.C. Circuit Court of Appeals rejected New’s request to hear the case in federal court, requiring him to first exhaust his military appeals. Supreme Court denied certiorari.

Status: On appeal in military courts.

Maryland

Goulart & Travers v. Calvert County
Filed: 1/31/00, Calvert County.

Nature of Case: County policy excludes home schoolers from scheduling the use of community centers, while permitting other groups to use the centers for similar purposes. HSLDA, on behalf of two families, sued the county for discrimination and violation of the First and Fourteenth Amendments.

Status: County’s motion to dismiss set for 8/8/00.

Michigan

State v. Mr. & Mrs. H
Filed: 1/4/00

Nature of Case: After Mr. and Mrs. H withdrew their son from public school in December with proper notice, a truant officer came to the house to examine their materials. The family was unprepared, but promised they would present the necessary paperwork on the following day. Although the next day the officer could not be located, and did not return the parents’ calls, she filed a criminal complaint. The parents turned themselves in and were incarcerated for about 12 hours before being released on $200 bond each.

Status: In a subsequent meeting between the parents, principal, and truant officer, the curriculum was reviewed and the charges subsequently dismissed.

Nevada

Hooks v. Clark County School District
Filed: 1/9/98, District of Nevada.

Nature of Case: Home schooled child denied special education services despite federal law requiring provision of such services to “all students.” Family sued to obtain services.

Ruling: On 10/23/98, a federal district court judge ruled that home school students in Nevada are not entitled to such services. The case is on appeal to the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals.

Status: On 4/12/00, Mike Farris appeared before a three-judge panel of the Ninth Circuit to urge the reversal of the district court dismissal. Decision pending.

Note: The Nevada legislature recently changed its law to specifically allow home school students to receive special education services. Now the only issue before the court is whether the school district was under an obligation to provide services under federal law before the state statute was amended.

New Jersey

Forstrom v. Fair Lawn School District
Filed: 2/5/98, Bergen County.

Nature of Case: The Forstrom’s son was denied special education services despite federal law requiring provision of such services to “all students.” Family sued to obtain services.

Ruling: On 10/29/99, the court ruled in favor of the Forstroms, ordering the child to benefit from both state and federal funding.

Status: School district and NJ State Department of Education appealed.

North Carolina

In the Matter of S
Filed: 9/15/99, Cleveland County.

Nature of Case: Early one morning a two-year-old escaped the house sans clothes. A sibling quickly got her back inside, but within two hours social workers arrived. The mother refused to allow them entry or private interviews with the children. DSS filed a petition alleging “interference with a child abuse investigation.

Ruling: The judge ruled that social workers are not “state actors,” a child neglect investigation is not a “search,” and the Fourth Amendment did not provide the parents with a “lawful excuse” to refuse entry.

Status: On appeal to North Carolina Court of Appeals.

Virginia

Balderson v. Almasian and Richmond County School Board
Filed: 4/6/00.

Nature of Case: Home schooling parents Gerald and Angela Balderson were arrested 3/17/00 after truancy charges were filed against them by Bryan Almasian, assistant principal at Richmond County Elementary School. After HSLDA contacted the local school administrator, the charges were dropped. HSLDA has brought action against Almasian for negligence, gross negligence, malicious prosecution, and violation of the family’s 14th Amendment guarantee of due process of law.

Ruling: On 6/21/00, the court dismissed the negligence, gross negligence, and Due Process Clause causes of action. Only malicious prosecution remains, so we must prove malice (desire to punish for withdrawing from the school or for home schooling).

Status: Trial set for July 24, 2000.

West Virginia

Bevins, et al. v. Calhoun County School Board
Filed: 4/11/00

Nature of Case: Four families are seeking a declaratory judgement against three illegal policies pertaining to home education: (1) a certified reviewer of the child’s progress must be employed by the school district; (2) families whose notice is inadequate may be criminally prosecuted, and (3) approval to home educate requires an oral presentation of the curriculum to the school board.

Status: Cross-motions for summary judgment set for 8/18/00. Court’s objective is to decide this case before school begins.