The Home School Court Report
Vol. XXVI
No. 5
Cover
September/October
2010

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NEW HAMPSHIRE

Amicus Brief Challenges Anti-homeschool Ruling

Case: Kurowski v. Kurowski
Filed: 5/17/10

by Michael P. Donnelly

Home School Legal Defense Association has filed a friend of the court brief in Kurowski v. Kurowski, a New Hampshire custody case that threatens to establish a rule that could be harmful to homeschoolers. In a case that has made headlines across the country, a trial court ordered a homeschooled girl into public school based in large part on non-expert testimony of the guardian ad litem assigned to the case. The guardian ad litem’s testimony implied that homeschooling could not meet the future social and academic needs of any adolescent—even though the court acknowledged that the child in this case was excelling both academically and socially while being homeschooled.

The homeschooling mother appealed the decision and is being represented by Alliance Defense Fund-allied attorney John Anthony Simmons. The case is pending before the New Hampshire Supreme Court.

HSLDA is rarely involved in custody cases because the issues typically do not involve homeschooling itself—rather, they usually involve disputes over which parent can legally make educational decisions or what is in the best interests of the child. In Kurowski, however, the lower court applied the “best interests of the child” standard so broadly as to imply a blanket rule that not only is public school preferable to homeschooling, but also that homeschooling is universally unable to meet the needs of adolescent children. Such an absurd assertion could not be left unchallenged.

HSLDA was joined on the brief by Christian Home Educators of New Hampshire and Catholics United for Home Education. The brief to the New Hampshire Supreme Court explains the benefits of homeschooling, summarizes the empirical research on homeschooling, and demonstrates that homeschooling is more than adequate to meet the developmental needs of adolescents. The legal team reviewed nearly 60 articles and eight cases from other states, which conclusively demonstrate that homeschooling is a highly effective form of education that meets the academic and social needs of children of all ages.

A copy of the amicus brief is available online.

TEXAS

Unexpected Truancy Charges Resolved

Case: Texas v. G Family
Filed: 5/5/10

by Darren A. Jones

Mrs. Gardiner (name changed to protect privacy) is a single mother who has homeschooled her two children in Texas for the last three years. In February, a truant officer for the local school district came to her door to find out why her children were not attending school. She explained that she was homeschooling. The officer handed Mrs. Gardiner enrollment forms and told her that she was required to fill them out and take them to the local school. He threatened to charge her with truancy if she did not do so.

Knowing her rights, Mrs. Gardiner did not fill out the enrollment forms, but she did send a letter to the superintendent and a copy to the truant officer explaining that she was homeschooling in accordance with Texas law, which treats homeschoolers as independent private schools.

Mrs. Gardiner didn’t hear anything more until May, when she was served with a summons to appear in juvenile court for truancy. HSLDA immediately contacted the prosecuting attorney and the school district. The charges were dismissed without Mrs. Gardiner and her children having to appear in court.

Pending Cases

AL B Family v. Social Security Administration

AZ Loudermilk Family v. Administration for Children, Youth and Families

CA L Family v. Social Security Administration

CA M Family v. County of San Bernardino

CA S Family v. County of Los Angeles

DC In re: DP

FL B Family v. Florida High School Athletic Association

HI A Family v. Department of Veterans Affairs

IN S Family v. Social Security Administration

KS In re: A & CC

MA Attleboro Public Schools v. S Family

MI In re: T Family

NY New York v. C Family

OH Ohio v. V Family

PA Newborn v. Franklin Regional School District

TN R Family v. S Family

TX K Family v. Social Security Administration

TX Texas v. C Family

WA F Family v. Department of Veterans Affairs

WV West Virginia v. G Family