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Homeschoolers Proven Innocent

One Sunday afternoon in July 2006, a Home School Legal Defense Association member family was enjoying a restful day when a social worker—accompanied by a sheriff—showed up on their doorstep and demanded entry into the home to interrogate their children.* The social worker told the family she had received an anonymous tip that the parents were physically and sexually abusing the children.

The family immediately called the HSLDA hotline for help. Attorney Thomas Schmidt responded and was able to convince the social worker and sheriff to leave without entering the home or interviewing the children. A few days later, the social worker tried a new tactic. She crossed county lines and went to the children’s grandmother’s home, where two of the children were visiting.

The grandmother let the social worker into the home, but did not allow her to interrogate the children. She called the children’s father (her son), who then set up a three-way call with HSLDA Senior Counsel Christopher Klicka.

Klicka advised the father and grandmother of their rights, then explained these rights to the social worker as well. He also told the social worker that the allegations were completely false.

The social worker kept insisting she needed to interview the children, but Klicka would not allow her to do so. She finally left, claiming she would visit the family again.

Acting on Klicka’s advice, the family took their children to both a doctor and a counselor to prove that the children were unharmed. In addition, Klicka had the family supply the social worker with names, phone numbers, and letters from individuals who vouched for their good parenting.

Klicka then sent a letter to the social worker explaining that the family was above suspicion, and that someone was simply using the child welfare system to abuse them. Klicka outlined the family’s 4th Amendment right to deny the social worker entry into their home and individual interviews with their children. He assured the social worker that the family would stand on their rights and reminded her that she had enough evidence from the doctor’s notes and letters to close the case. At the end of August, the social worker finally sent the family a letter saying that the allegations were unsubstantiated and the case was closed.

— by Thomas J. Schmidt

*See “HSLDA social services contact policy.”