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HSLDA legal contacts for November/December 2002



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Working together for liberty

At a December 12, 2002, meeting with members of Massachusetts Homeschool Organization of Parent Educators (Mass HOPE) and the Massachusetts Home Learning Association (MHLA), Home School Legal Defense Association Attorney Scott Somerville gave a briefing on the conflicts HSLDA members are experiencing in the state.

These statewide homeschool organizations have had a generally positive relationship over the years, and this meeting was intended to enhance communication between the two groups as they work together to preserve liberty and justice for all homeschoolers. The general consensus was that Massachusetts homeschoolers are experiencing a period of relative peace, despite some flareups in particular districts.

The group also discussed potential homeschool legislation and ways to help families in difficult districts. All parties agreed that new legislation was not advisable, since the Massachusetts Supreme Judicial Court rulings on home education are more favorable than anything the Massachusetts Legislature would be likely to pass in the near future. Somerville explained how HSLDA members have helped other homeschoolers by discovering problems in their districts, and then working together to see those problems resolved.

Later that day, Somerville, several Mass HOPE board members, and dozens of western Massachusetts homeschoolers attended a Ware school committee meeting. Although Ware was on the verge of prosecuting a family because the parents refused to meet face-to-face with school officials, the combination of legal representation and public support persuaded the school to reconsider its existing policy. While homeschoolers have much work ahead of them to make sure Ware's policy is both reconsidered and revised, the immediate threat was averted.

Scott W. Somerville