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Vol. XXVIII
No. 2
Cover
Spring
2012

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ARIZONA

Supreme Court Declines to Hear 4th Amendment Case

Case: Loudermilk Family v. Administration for Children, Youth and Families
Filed: March 2006

by Darren A. Jones

Home School Legal Defense Association learned as this issue goes to press that the U.S. Supreme Court has declined to consider the Loudermilk case. On March 3, 2006, HSLDA filed a lawsuit in federal court on behalf of the Loudermilk family of Arizona (see July/August 2010 Court Report.

In 2005, the homeschooling family faced an impossible choice—either watch as child protective services (CPS) workers and sheriff deputies removed their children to foster care, or allow the violation of their 4th Amendment rights. The Loudermilks chose the latter option and opened the door of their home to the CPS workers, who had received an anonymous tip slandering the state of their house. Five minutes later, the CPS workers and deputies left, acknowledging that the home was satisfactory.

HSLDA sued CPS and the sheriff’s department and won in district court, arguing that the investigators’ threat to remove the children infringed on the Loudermilks’ 14th Amendment right to family privacy and that their entering the house without permission disregarded the parents’ 4th Amendment rights. The sheriff’s department appealed the decision to the infamous Ninth Circuit Court, which ruled against HSLDA, deciding that the deputies were protected under a legal doctrine called “qualified immunity.” In other words, because the deputies had believed that the Loudermilks’ home was unsafe for their children, they could enter the house without having to provide the search warrant required by the 4th Amendment. The Ninth Circuit’s decision is sobering because it denied civil and constitutional rights to a homeschooling family.

In January 2012, HSLDA entered a writ of certiorari, appealing the decision to the United States Supreme Court. On March 26, 2012, we received confirmation that the Supreme Court declined the Loudermilk case. Fewer than 100 cases are accepted from the 8,000 or more appeals made to the Supreme Court each year. We thank you for lifting this case up in prayer and standing with HSLDA to protect the right to homeschool.

TENNESSEE

HSLDA defends homeschooling mother facing arrest

Case: In re: L Family
Filed: June 2011

by Darren A. Jones

“I have an outstanding warrant for my arrest!” an overwhelmed mother informed Home School Legal Defense Association. Vicki Lentham (all family names changed to protect privacy) appealed to HSLDA for legal counsel when a policeman informed her that she faced arrest for truancy charges.

In the middle of the 2010–11 school year, Ms. Lentham withdrew her 7th- and 8th-grade children, Scott and Aubrey, from public school to homeschool them. Ms. Lentham chose a homeschool option in Tennessee that allowed her to enroll her children in an online private school and become their teacher at home.

Three months after Scott and Aubrey were withdrawn from public school, the school made a mistake and sent a letter to Ms. Lentham alleging her children were truant. Ms. Lentham tried to contact the school district to resolve the matter, but the school would neither answer nor return her phone calls. Since Ms. Lentham received no further letters from the school, she assumed the district had corrected its mistake—until a police officer, in the area for an unrelated issue, informed her that the prosecutor had filed truancy charges and the court had issued a warrant for her arrest.

At Ms. Lentham’s hearing, HSLDA’s local Tennessee counsel, Ned Williams, demanded that the court dismiss the truancy charges and the warrant since Scott and Aubrey had been withdrawn from public school and were being homeschooled in compliance with Tennessee law. The court accepted HSLDA’s defense and dismissed both.

HSLDA Staff Attorney Darren Jones encourages members to contact HSLDA as soon as a possible problem develops to prevent larger issues later: “If your contact with the school involves mention of truancy in any way, let us know immediately. We can usually take care of it with a letter or phone call and avoid the stress of charges or warrants being issued.”

Pending Cases

AL B Family v. Social Security Administration

CA M Family v. County of San Bernardino

CO State v. K Family

KY In re: C Family

MI In re: P Family

MO In re: H Family

NE State v. T Family

NH In re: V Family

NY L Family v. Social Security Administration

OH D Family v. Social Security Administration

OK L Family v. Social Security Administration

OK M Family v. Department of Veterans Affairs

OK M Family v. Social Security Administration

PA In re: D Family

PA In re: F Family

PA Newborn v. Franklin Regional School District

TX In re: W Family

TX K Family v. Social Security Administration

UT K Family v. Department of Workforce Services

VA In re: M Family

WI In re: P Family