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No. 2

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‘Emaciation’ Allegation Disproved

As is often the case, the social workers did not call for an appointment.

So when south-central Texas resident Stephanie Gregory responded to the knock on her door, she was shocked to find two social workers demanding to come into her home and question her son privately.*

Mrs. Gregory took a deep breath and courteously responded that she would like to talk to her attorney first. “We'll just get a court order,” one of the social workers shot back, and they left.

This member family immediately called Home School Legal Defense Association for help. HSLDA Staff Attorney Scott Woodruff mailed a letter to the social workers explaining the Gregorys’ 4th Amendment rights, but when he tried to discuss the case with them, one of the social workers insisted on written authorization from the family. Stephanie and her husband promptly signed an authorization form and gave it to the social worker.

With the avenue of communication now open, Woodruff questioned the social worker carefully. He learned that the investigation was based on a report alleging that the Gregorys’ son was “emaciated” and there was no food in the house. At Woodruff’s suggestion, the family promptly took the boy to a doctor, who confirmed that there was absolutely no evidence of abuse or neglect. Woodruff also advised the family to have neighbors and acquaintances send letters to the social worker confirming that the boy was well cared for.

Even with the doctor’s report and the letters from the Gregorys’ acquaintances, the social worker wanted more evidence. Woodruff responded with a letter, firmly pointing out that the family had already given her enough evidence to close her file.

After several weeks of silence, the social worker informed the Gregorys that their file was being closed. We appreciate the social worker’s good judgment in not troubling this family further after their innocence was clearly demonstrated.

— by Scott A. Woodruff

* See “HSLDA social services contact policy.”