The Home School Court Report
Vol. XXVII
No. 2
Cover
March/April
2011

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VIRGINIA

Kids Sleep in the Strangest Places

While rounding up the children for a family trip, Angela Eadley (name changed to protect privacy) could not find her 2-year-old. After searching to no avail, the family called their friends, asking for their help and prayers.

When a police officer arrived—after being called by one of those well-meaning friends—the household search was repeated. This time the little sleepyhead was found, sound asleep under a big fluffy cushion in the family room.

Exercising what can only be described as poor judgment, the police officer called social services.* Although the Eadleys had done absolutely nothing abusive, neglectful, or even questionable, the social worker browbeat them into signing a “safety plan.” Forcing a “safety plan” on parents whose child was sleeping soundly in a safe place in his own home simply defies credulity. However, Angela and her husband signed the plan, agreeing to various restrictions on their household activities.

The Eadleys thereafter contacted Home School Legal Defense Association for help. HSLDA Senior Counsel Scott Woodruff sent a letter reminding the social worker that the family signed the safety plan before receiving legal advice. Woodruff pointed out that no safety plan was ever needed in the first place, and advised the social worker that the Eadleys were removing their signatures from the plan immediately. They have heard nothing more from the social worker.

If a family signs a “safety plan” but then violates it while it is in force, negative consequences may follow. Talking with an attorney before signing a safety plan is often a wise idea.

— by Scott A. Woodruff

* See “HSLDA social services contact policy"”

Ability-to-Teach Evidence Demanded

Home School Legal Defense Association member John McQuick (name changed to protect privacy) submitted the appropriate paperwork to Shenandoah County Public Schools so that his family could homeschool under a religious exemption. A school representative subsequently told them that their paperwork clearly established their religious convictions, but that they must submit two letters from individuals in their community confirming that Mr. and Mrs. McQuick were able to educate their children.

Surprised, the McQuicks contacted HSLDA for help. HSLDA Senior Counsel Scott Woodruff called the school representative and explained that optional letters from members of the community may serve the purpose of confirming that a family is sincere in its religious beliefs, but no other purpose. In order to avoid conflict between government mandates and individual conscience, the state does not have the authority to sit in judgment on a religiously exempt family’s ability to educate their children.

The school system representative quickly agreed. We appreciate the school system’s cooperativeness in resolving this matter.

— by Scott A. Woodruff