Home School Legal Defense Association
P.O. Box 3000, Purcellville, VA 20134



For Immediate Release Contact: Michael Farris Jr.
April 1, 2016 (540) 338-5600

HSLDA Responds to Illegal “Truancy Court” Document


The Home School Legal Defense Association asked the Missouri Court of Appeals on April 1 to order Circuit Court Judge R. Craig Carter of Ava to stop his attempt to summon a homeschooling family to appear before a court that doesn’t exist.

Tiffany and Anthony Swearengin had been sending their 6- and 8-year-old children to public school, until they became convinced that the children could make better progress at home. Soon after beginning to homeschool their children, they received a document in the mail that looked exactly like a real court document. It was signed by an official and mandated the Swearengins to show up at “truancy court” with their children at the Juvenile Court Center in Mountain Grove, over 30 miles from their home.

This frightening document said the “truancy court” would discuss the kids’ school attendance, “which brings them within the jurisdiction of the juvenile division of the Circuit Court.” Even worse, the document threatened that if they did not show up, officials might seek to put the children into state custody.

The HSLDA legal team looked into the situation and quickly learned that the “truancy court” was fake. No such court exists, and the alarming letter was fraudulent, although it was typed up to look exactly like a real court document.

Further investigation revealed that Judge R. Craig Carter is responsible for this program, and that all new homeschool families in Douglas County can now expect the same treatment the Swearengins received.

“Using deception to motivate people is beneath the dignity of the courts,” said HSLDA Chairman Michael Farris, “and it’s illegal. That’s why our legal team and I worked together to prepare documents asking the Missouri Court of Appeals to order Judge Carter to stop this sham.”

Farris continued, “It’s important to protect public confidence in the court system and the rule of law. We anticipate that the Missouri Appeals Court will rebuke Judge Carter.”

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