HSLDA has received no word on the pending federal civil rights suit, Jeffery, et al. v. O'Donnell, et al. (No. CV-86-1560, United States District Court for the Middle District of Pennsylvania). Michael Farris, President of HSLDA, made a motion for summary judgment, requesting that the judge rule the Pennsylvania compulsory attendance law vague and, therefore, unconstitutional. HSLDA has been anxiously awaiting the judge’s decision since the last brief was filed on January 31, 1988.
Similar to the judge in the federal suit, the Pennsylvania legislature also appears to be dragging its feet. HSLDA attorney Chris Klicka traveled to Harrisburg in early December, 1987, to testify in favor of the homeschool bill (HB 1364). In January, HSLDA was informed that the bill would be attached to a Public School Code bill to increase the likelihood of its passage. However, the bill seems to have achieved little progress.
While these stalls are discouraging, several HSLDA Pennsylvania families have recently had successful resolutions to difficulties with their school districts. After negotiations with attorney Chris Klicka, Canon McMillan, West Chester, and Clairton school districts all retracted their requirements for home visits, testing in the public school, and other restrictive mandates such as a prescribed curriculum. Families in Blackhawk, Chambersburg, Crawford Central, and Greencastle-Atrim similarly reached successful agreements with their school districts after attorney Klicka sent letters to the school districts, negotiated for the family, or assisted the family in handling the negotiations themselves. Although some Pennsylvania families still await word as to whether their superintendents will waive their restrictive policies or take them to court, these recent instances of successful negotiations between families and their school districts are very encouraging.
Please continue to pray that the judge in the Jeffery case will have wisdom in rendering his decision for summary judgment, and that the legislature will swiftly pass legislation that will enable homeschoolers in Pennsylvania to instruct their children free from fear of persecution.