The 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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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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4th Amendment rights protected

When a Home School Legal Defense Association member family in eastern South Dakota responded to a knock at their door, they found a social worker standing there.* She wanted to come into their home and question the children privately about an anonymous report of child abuse and neglect she had received.

Knowing their rights, the parents asked the social worker to wait on the doorstep while they called HSLDA. Staff Attorney Scott Woodruff provided immediate assistance. First, he asked the family to find out the specific allegations. It turned out that someone had reported that the parents were "isolating the children and not giving them adequate food."

The parents agreed to have the children go outside briefly so the social worker could see they were in good health and of normal weight. Woodruff asked the social worker if she was satisfied that the children were being adequately fed. She was not, so the family brought food out onto the front porch. As the pile of food grew, the social worker finally conceded that adequate food was no longer an issue. However, she still wanted to come into the home and question the children privately. To protect the family's 4th Amendment rights, Woodruff advised the parents to decline her request. Annoyed, the social worker left, saying she would have to "talk to her supervisor."

After further counsel with HSLDA, the parents subsequently talked with the social worker without the children present.

Several weeks later, the social worker sent a letter to our member family saying that the charges were not justified and their file would be closed. We commend these parents for knowing their rights, staying calm when contacted by a government official, and seeking immediate assistance from HSLDA.

— by Scott A. Woodruff

* See "HSLDA social services contact policy".