|HSLDA News||May 24, 2001|
83 Counts of Truancy Put on Hold
Family gets to seek Catholic supervision
Both sides backed away from a showdown in a Maryland criminal court when Mary S. accepted an offer to hold off all prosecution to give her a chance to get approval for her Catholic home school program. The case, which had been scheduled to go to court tomorrow (Friday, May 25) has been put on hold for the foreseeable future.
Howard County officials insisted they never intended to treat Catholic families unfairly. Assistant State's Attorney David Lank said, "We have a process that allows us to provide reasonable accommodation for people with sincere religious beliefs. If this family had taken advantage of this process, these charges would probably never have been filed."
Under the terms of the settlement, the prosecutor has agreed to drop all charges as soon as the family begins to operate under the auspices of a program recognized by the Maryland Department of Education.
Mary S. welcomed the opportunity. "I am eager to work with the Department of Education to improve the current system so that it works better for Catholic home schoolers," she said. "I appreciate the professionalism and patience of the Howard County State's Attorney and gladly accept this offer to help construct a real solution to this problem."
The family intends to ask the Maryland Board of Education to approve the Our Lady of the Rosary program as well as other national home school programs like Seton Home Study, Kolbe Academy, and the Clonlara School. The family also intends to contact Ron Valenti, the Superintendent of Catholic Schools for the Archdiocese of Baltimore, to explore the possibility of starting an educational program under the auspices of his office.
"I believe in accountability," Mary S. explained, "but the church has a standard that is even higher than the state. I look forward to having our home school operate under the supervision of the Roman Catholic Church."
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