|| LITIGATION SUMMARIES
Appeal to state supreme court
In 1997, five families challenged the constitutionality of the daytime curfew ordinance of Monrovia, California, and obtained a ruling that stated that the curfew contradicted state law and was unconstitutional. The ordinance makes it unlawful for any person under the age of 18 to be anywhere other than a school building or at home from 8:30 a.m. until 1:30 p.m. on days when school is in session.
Case: Harrahill v. City of Monrovia|
The city appealed the decision to the California Court of Appeals, which reversed the decision of the lower court and remanded the case back for a ruling on an amended daytime curfew ordinance.
In December 2001, a Los Angeles Superior Court judge upheld the city's curfew. Home School Legal Defense Association appealed this decision to the California Court of Appeals. In December 2002, the court of appeals decided in a 2-1 vote to uphold the ruling of the superior court. HSLDA is appealing the decision to the California Supreme Court.
District takes issue with early graduation
As part of its mission to protect homeschooling rights, HSLDA has appealed a United States District Court decision that community centers in Calvert County, Maryland, can discriminate against homeschool groups.
When homeschooling mothers Lydia Goulart and Kyle Travers applied to use the community centers, they were denied, even though the facilities were available at those times. The county's explicit policy, "Homeschoolers may not use community centers," is bizarre, according to HSLDA General Counsel Mike Farris.
Case: Goulart & Travers v. Meadows, et al.|
Calvert County has offered no compelling interest to justify excluding homeschoolers from the use of its community centers.
In its brief to the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fourth Circuit, HSLDA contended that the district court was incorrect in its holding that speech in an instructional setting is not protected by the First Amendment, and that the district court has denied homeschoolers equal protection under the law, denying the fundamental right of a parent to direct the education of his child.
Homeschooling widow wins benefits appeal
After HSLDA appealed the federal Office of Personnel Management's decision to cut off benefits to a homeschooling widow, OPM rescinded its decision and reinstated the benefits.
Case: Mrs. L v. Office of Personnel Management|
When Mrs. L's husband died, she and her son began receiving death benefits because her husband had been a government employee. These benefits gave her enough income so that she could homeschool her son. However, when he turned 18, OPM cut off the benefits, even though he was still enrolled as a homeschooler under Ohio law. OPM claimed that he was not enrolled in an educational institution recognized under federal law.
HSLDA immediately wrote to OPM, pointing out that this decision went directly against OPM policy as stated by OPM Director Kay Coles James, in her letter to HSLDA of February 13, 2002. OPM denied this request to reconsider, so HSLDA appealed to the Merit Systems Protection Board on behalf of our member.
On December 24, 2002, OPM informed the Protection Board that it was rescinding the decision and would reinstate Mrs. L's benefits. The Board then dismissed the appeal as unnecessary.
"We were delighted with this victory," said Jim Mason, litigation attorney for HSLDA. "It is unfortunate that the Office of Personnel Management took so long to recognize that homeschooling students are enrolled in an educational institution, but we are thankful that Mrs. L will be able to continue getting the benefits her husband left her."