Home School Court Report
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Cover Story
Compulsory Education Laws: The Dialogue Reopens

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A Week in the Life of David Gordon

National Center Reports

Federal Issues Update

Across the States

State by State

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Pending Cases

Around the Globe—Ireland

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Active Cases

MacIntyre v. Scottsdale Public Schools
District Denies Services

While Mr. and Mrs. MacIntyre's visually impaired children were partially enrolled in Scottsdale Public Schools, the school district provided special education services. However, now that the MacIntyre children will be 100 percent home educated next year, the district is denying those services. The children qualify for orientation and mobility training, as well as Braille reading and writing training.

When this Home School Legal Defense Association member family requested a due process hearing, the district refused-claiming that home-educated students are not entitled to any services. The district's decision is based upon a May 2000 Arizona Attorney General's opinion concluding that home school students are ineligible for services under both federal and state law, in spite of the state law mandate that services be available to all handicapped students in the district. HSLDA is filing a civil rights complaint on behalf of the MacIntyres.

Goulart, et al. v. Commissioners of Calvert County
Discrimination Case Continues

This lawsuit asks the federal court to declare unconstitutional a county policy prohibiting home schoolers from using community center meeting rooms for home school purposes. Two home school families were denied use of the center for weekly fiber arts club and geography club meetings. It is believed that these rooms are generally available to all community citizens for similar activities.

On August 29, 2000, the judge ruled that the county is not entitled to a dismissal of the case and that the actual practices of the community centers must be examined before the court can decide the constitutionality of the policy.

State v. Phillips
Mother Charged with Truancy

On the day Mrs. Phillips filed her affidavit of intent to home educate her two teenage daughters, a summons was issued for her appearance on two truancy charges, one for each daughter. The local district criminally prosecuted this mother for filing her affidavit after—instead of before—initiating home instruction.

On the eve of the trial, the school attorney dismissed the case regarding one daughter, but elected to proceed with the other case. HSLDA defended Mrs. Phillips, arguing that she had committed no crime and that, even if later filing is a crime, she had not received the three-day notice of the crime required by state law. The judge agreed that notice was inadequate and dismissed the charges.

On August 18, 2000, Mrs. Phillips was again charged with truancy concerning the daughter whose case was previously dismissed before trial. HSLDA will again defend Mrs. Phillips. Trial is scheduled for October 6.

State v. Horn
Mother of 5 Year Old Arrested

On August 24, 2000, a new home schooling mom in Bolivar was arrested for "violating the compulsory attendance law." A Hardeman County Sheriff's Deputy surprised Terry and Teresa Horn with a warrant for Teresa's arrest signed by the local attendance officer, Charlie Brown, at 4:30 that afternoon. Mrs. Horn was arrested in front of her three sons, ages 5, 3, and 1, and taken to the Sheriff's Department. There she was booked, fingerprinted and had her "mug shot" taken.

Although Mrs. Horn faced jail for these charges, the deputy who arrested her urged that a citation to be given to her instead. Mrs. Horn was cited and finally released at 7:50 p.m. Two friends picked her up at the Sheriff's Department, because her husband was at home comforting their sons. The Horns didn't want to further distress the boys by taking them to pick up their mother at the Sheriff's office.

The Horns' oldest child is not yet compulsory attendance age (6). Attendance Officer Charlie Brown admits that he knew this. He claims that a relative of Mrs. Horn "wanted the child in school," so he prosecuted when the child was not enrolled. Mr. Brown has, however, agreed to dismiss the charges on October 16, 2000.

Pollard v. Stewart
The article below summarizes Pollard v. Stewart as reported in the September 1, 2000, Washington Times.

Home-schooler's lawsuit says civil rights violated District threatened student with truancy arrest

A black home-school family has filed a $700,000 federal civil rights lawsuit against the Goochland County, Va., school district after school officials threatened the daughter with arrest for truancy.

The lawsuit, filed in federal district court in Richmond yesterday, claims the civil rights of Gum Springs, Va., mother Terry Pollard and her daughter, Melanie, 18, were violated in 1999 when Goochland County school officials swore out a warrant for Melanie, then a minor, claiming she was not attending public school classes in violation of state law.

Mrs. Pollard. whose daughter had been diagnosed with panic disorder, had received a psychiatrist’s signed permission for homebound instruction, but school officials denied her request. Knowing the school setting aggravated her daughter’s disorder, Mrs. Pollard then gave formal notice to the school district that she would home school Melanie.

When Melanie, who is now in college, did not return to classes, school officials contacted authorities, leading to several court appearances before the case was resolved, the complaint said.

Homebound instruction differs from home schooling in that it allows the student to remain a part of the school system and continue studies at home, following state regulations for public education. Home schooling allows parents to teach their children, independent of their local school system.

“It is the right of the parents to direct the education of their children ' “ said David Gordon, an attorney with the Home School Legal Defense Association in Purcellville, Va., who is representing the Pollards.

“Her civil rights have been violated and the mother is also concerned about other abuses of home-schoolers in the community.”

The complaint names former Goochland County Superintendent of Schools Warren Stewart, members of the school board and school system employee Glenda Leabough, who swore a petition against Melanie in the county’s Juvenile and Domestic Relations Court days after Mrs. Pollard gave notice to home school.

Mr. Stewart, a Democratic candidate for Congress from Virginia’s 7th District, did not return a call to his campaign office for comment. Goochland County Superintendent of Schools Harold Cothern also did not return a call for comment.

Mr. Gordon said the Pollards are not the first home-school family to run afoul of Goochland County authorities. He has resolved similar cases there before.

Mrs. Pollard followed state law by informing Mr. Stewart’s office of her intention to home educate Melanie, but the school board and its representatives did not follow the law, he said.

The mother, he added, continued to teach Melanie at home through her senior year.

“It appears to us that Goochland County school officials have tried to keep students from departing for home education with threats and intimidation. They tried to intimidate Mrs. Pollard by taking her daughter to court,” he said. “Mrs. Pollard did not bend but others have been coerced into returing.”

The lawsuit seeks $100,000 each in compensatory damages for Mrs. Pollard and Melanie, and $250,000 each in punitive damages.