The Home School Court Report
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New Jersey
Denial of speech therapy reverse

A Home School Legal Defense Association member family living in Willingboro School District needed speech therapy for their child. Mr. and Mrs. H. contacted the school and set up a meeting with the director of pupil services to talk about obtaining the therapy. But the director officially and emphatically denied their request, writing in a letter, "The district cannot provide services to a home schooled student."

The family promptly contacted HSLDA. We informed the school attorney of the recent Forstrom case decision in which a New Jersey appellate court upheld a lower court's ruling requiring a school district to provide speech therapy to a home schooled student. Just like Willingboro, the school district in Forstrom had refused to grant speech therapy to a student on the grounds that the student was home schooled. The appellate court held that the Forstrom family's equal protection rights were violated because the services were offered to non-public school students, but not home schooled students.

Willingboro's attorney argued that Forstrom was inapplicable because the school district involved in Forstrom invited children from non-public schools to participate in their programs while the Willingboro School District does not. HSLDA pointed out that under New Jersey law, the school district is required to invite students from non-public schools to participate. After understanding this point, the Willingboro school district agreed to provide speech therapy services to the child.

- Scott A. Woodruff