The Home School Court Report
Vol. XXII
No. 2
Cover
March/April
2006

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TEXAS

Homeowners association threatens family

Imagine being told that your homeschool is a violation of your homeowners association (HOA) covenant and that you must cease homeschooling immediately or face a lawsuit! The Covent* family, members of Home School Legal Defense Association, had just started the 2005 school year and had organized several supplemental group activities. A few homeschoolers met regularly at the Covents' house for chess, gymnastics, and art and music activities taught by the various parents in the group.

When the Covents' HOA accused them of running a business or day care from the home and engaging in "noxious or offensive activities which constitute a nuisance," the family contacted HSLDA.

Senior Counsel Christopher J. Klicka wrote the HOA, challenging its threat to file suit against the family for simply homeschooling their son and hosting activities in their home to supplement their son's education. He pointed out that it is not against the restrictive covenant to have a chess club in one's home, and educating children in gymnastics or music is neither noxious nor offensive.

In the end, it took a frank phone conversation between HSLDA and the HOA lawyer, along with the family's notarized statement describing their educational activities and explaining that they are not running a commercial enterprise, to convince the association to leave the Covents alone. The Covents' homeschool and their group activities have not been disrupted further.

District intimidates homeschool mom

The Kalu* family moved to Texas from Nigeria two years ago. A tough start in the local public schools left them searching for a different educational option for their children. After meeting some homeschooling families and becoming excited about this form of education, the Kalus began homeschooling in November 2005 and joined HSLDA.

However, Mrs. Kalu encountered resistance when she went to withdraw her children from the McKinney School District public school. Although she brought a signed statement of withdrawal, school officials started asking questions and insisted that she also sign an 11-page form on the spot. Half a dozen people surrounded Mrs. Kalu, all questioning her decision and ability to homeschool her children. The principal threatened to charge the family with truancy if Mrs. Kalu did not sign the 11-page form at once. Frightened, Mrs. Kalu returned to her house and called HSLDA.

Senior Counsel Christopher Klicka immediately wrote the superintendent of the McKinney School District, explaining that the Kalu family could legally homeschool, that they were operating their homeschool in a bona fide manner, that they were not required to fill out any school forms, and that they declined to fill out the 11-page form.

The public school did not carry out its threat, and no truancy charges have been filed against the family. The Kalus continue to homeschool, treasuring the chance to learn together as a family.

Hartley demands curriculum and grades

The Hartley School District requested grades and curriculum from an HSLDA member family that had just started homeschooling their daughter. Although the family had told the school they were homeschooling when they withdrew their daughter, the principal afterwards requested that the family inform him of the continuing status of their homeschool. The family knew that they were not obligated to provide this information and called HSLDA, wondering what they should do.

Senior Counsel Christopher Klicka wrote to the principal to explain that the family was operating a bona fide homeschool pursuant to Texas law. He emphasized further that the school's demands to see the family's grades and curriculum would be deemed harassment. The school district backed off, ending its illegal demands.

— by Christopher J. Klicka

* Name changed to protect family's privacy.