Going on the Offense: HSLDA Sues Athletic Association
Case: B Family v. Florida
High School Athletic Association|
Filed: January 13, 2010
by Nicholas Bolzman
On January 13, 2010, Home School Legal Defense Association sued the Florida High School Athletic Association (FHSAA) because of its unjustified refusal to allow a homeschool student to play sports for a private school.
In 1997, the Florida legislature passed the Craig Dickinson Act. This provision, which allows homeschoolers to participate in the sports programs of public schools and accommodating private schools, is best known for assisting to launch the career of well-known quarterback Tim Tebow. In addition to Tebow, many other homeschoolers across the state have benefited from this statute.
Last fall, however, one HSLDA member family ran into difficulty when the FHSAA prevented their son from playing on the rationale that he had been recruited to play for his local private school. Yet in the same meeting, the board approved the eligibility of other students in identical circumstances who were not homeschooled.
For the past several years, Caleb Brown (name changed to protect privacy), a homeschooled student, has played soccer with a local private school. He has also played on a club team over the summer. When the private school discontinued its soccer program, he moved to a second local private school. However, because the summer program’s director is also the coach at the second school, Caleb, along with three other summer club players, needed to obtain a waiver from the FHSAA to be considered eligible. Two of those students enrolled full-time in the private school, while Caleb and the other student continued being homeschooled, wanting to participate only in the soccer program.
The FHSAA executive director denied the waiver for the four boys to play on the soccer team, and the private school appealed the decision to the FHSAA Sectional Appeals Committee. On appeal, the committee approved the waivers for Caleb and the other homeschooled student, as well as for one of the students who enrolled in the private school. Not happy with being overruled, the executive director appealed this decision to the FHSAA Board of Directors, which heard all four cases last November.
At that meeting, the FHSAA approved waivers for the two students who enrolled in the private school, but denied the waivers for the two who remained homeschooled. The circumstances and evidence for recruiting is identical in all four cases, and the only distinguishing feature between the students who obtained waivers and those who did not is homeschooling. During the hearing, at least one member of the board confirmed that homeschooling was the distinguishing feature.
The Brown family contacted HSLDA about their denial, and we attempted to discuss the situation with the FHSAA. However, the FHSAA refused to reconsider or alter its decision. HSLDA therefore filed a complaint on Caleb’s behalf.
Family Arrested over Late Paperwork
Case: New York
v. C Family|
Filed: December 30, 2009
by Nicholas Bolzman
In a case that made national headlines, a New York family was arrested and charged with child endangerment for failing to register their homeschool—a problem that they had fixed a week before their arrest.
Social services first visited Richard and Margie Cressy in
November 2009 and informed the family that they were out of compliance with New York
homeschool law. As soon as this discovery was made, the Cressys submitted the necessary notification. The school district approved this submission, indicating
that the substance of the Cressys’ educational program was in compliance with New York law.
In the meantime, social services had turned the case over to the sheriff’s department. On December 30, 2009, the Cressys were asked to come to the sheriff’s office, where they were arrested and booked for child endangerment.
HSLDA is working with the family
and will represent them at their upcoming trial.
AL B Family v. Social Security Administration
AZ Loudermilk Family v. Administration
for Children, Youth & Families
CA L Family v. Social Security
CA M Family v. County of San Bernardino
CA S Family v. County of Los Angeles
DC In re: DP
GA In re: JM
HI A Family v. Department
of Veterans Affairs
IN S Family v. Social Security
KS In re: A & CC
NJ Division of Youth & Family
Services v. F Family
NM In re: BW
OH Ohio v. V Family
OH T Family v. Montgomery County
Department of Job & Family Services
PA Newborn v. Franklin Regional
TX K Family v. Social Security
WA F Family v. Department
of Veterans Affairs
|About the author
Nicholas Bolzman is a litigation assistant