Home School Court Report
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March / April 2005

Taylor broke ground with NCAA
Judicial Tyranny Goes Global
Let the Facts Speak

Freedom watch
From the heart

Realizing dreams

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From the director

HSF Mission Statement
Across the states
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PHC grad wins prize for economics paper
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On the other hand: a Contrario Sensu

HSLDA social services contact policy/A plethora of forms

HSLDA legal inquiries




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Department of education reconsiders

Nebraska's homeschool law, enacted in 1984, is relatively old in comparison with homeschool laws in other states. Over the last few years, the state department of education has been very slow to adapt to requests that fall outside of the 20-year-old regulatory parameters. For example, legislators did not anticipate complex custody arrangements. One homeschool family spent about a year getting the department to make a much needed exception to the letter of the law.

April Swift* was never married to Carl Dixon*, but they have joint custody of their 13-year-old daughter, Molly. When Ms. Swift decided to move from California to Nebraska, she contacted the Nebraska Department of Education about homeschooling and was told that Molly's father would have to sign Form A under penalty of perjury. Form A, as most Nebraska homeschoolers know, is a "Statement of Objection and Assurances by Parent or Guardian," and requires the parent to affirm that "the requirements for school approval and accreditation required by law and the rules and regulations adopted and promulgated by the State Board of Education interfere with the decisions in directing my child's education." Mr. Dixon was willing to sign this form, but not under oath. The department of education said that Molly could not be homeschooled without the notarized form from her father.

After Ms. Swift contacted Home School Legal Defense Association, it took many months, several letters, and a number of phone calls to get the department to reconsider its position. HSLDA made preparations to go to court and the state legislature, if necessary. In early December 2004, the department finally decided to let Mr. Dixon sign a modified version of Form A, which merely stated that he was aware that the homeschool was neither approved nor accredited by the state of Nebraska. Ms. Swift received her official letter of acknowledgment just before Christmas.

Nebraska homeschoolers can rejoice at this small victory. With patience and persistence, homeschoolers will keep expanding family freedoms in Nebraska.

— by Scott W. Somerville

* Names changed to protect family's privacy.
See "A plethora of forms".