If a homeschooling family is accused of truancy, what’s their best defense? HSLDA Counsel Peter Kamakawiwoole and host Mike Farris share a recent victory in a Nebraska Truancy case today on Home School Heartbeat.
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About a year ago, a homeschooling family was charged with five counts of truancy by the State of Nebraska. They were convicted of that in the lower court and HSLDA has appealed and won a complete reversal in the case handled by Peter Kamakawiwoole. Peter, what got this family into trouble in the first place?
Well the family had moved to Nebraska last spring and Nebraska law says that for first-time filer, homeschoolers are required to provide notices to the state thirty days before they plan to begin homeschooling. Because the family’s living situation was up in the air, they decided to start their homeschool year in early November. This would still leave them plenty of time to meet Nebraska’s minimum instructional requirements, and so they didn’t file their notice until thirty days prior, at the end of September. Meanwhile, a sheriff’s deputy visited the home to investigate charges of truancy, threatened to take the children unless they were immediately enrolled in public school, and handed the case over to the county attorney for prosecution. Although the family hadn’t violated the law, the state decided to go to trial anyway.
What did the family know that the truant officers apparently didn’t?
That they hadn’t violated the law, because parents, not public school officials, get to set the homeschool calendar.
Well, we’re grateful that the judge agreed with that argument and ruled in the family’s favor. Knowing your law is the first line of defense. I’m Mike Farris.