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3/12/2004 11:53:16 AM
Home School Legal Defense Association
HSLDA Files Emergency Appeal

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From the HSLDA E-lert Service...
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March 12, 2004


HSLDA Files Emergency Appeal


Dear HSLDA members and friends:

In a situation very similar to the Stumbo case in North Carolina, an
over-zealous social worker in Pennsylvania is causing serious legal
problems for the Gauthiers, an HSLDA member family.

In mid-February, Mr. and Mrs. Gauthier took their infant daughter
Isis to the hospital because she was listless and had a slight fever.
Apparently because they did not immediately follow the doctor's
recommendation, the parents were reported to social services for
possible medical neglect. While their daughter was lying in ICU,
several social workers interrogated both parents at the hospital.

After Mr. and Mrs. Gauthier returned home with their now-healthy
daughter, a social worker demanded entry to their home to "complete
her investigation." Since the family had already talked to several
social workers, and they knew that the doctors had also talked to
social services, they called HSLDA for advice.

HSLDA faxed a letter to the social worker, stating that she already
had more than enough information to close the case, and that a home
visit had nothing to do with whether medical neglect had occurred.

In a surprise move, the social worker petitioned the local court on
March 4 for an order to search the Gauthiers' home. The petition did
not allege that the child was at any risk of harm, nor did it state
any reason for the home visit except to "complete the investigation."
Neither the Gauthiers nor HSLDA had any notice of this petition; the
first that the family knew of it was when they received a copy of the
court order in the mail March 8 stating that they had to allow the
social worker into their home within 10 days.

On March 9, HSLDA petitioned the judge who had signed the order for a
delay until we had an opportunity to present the family's
constitutional rights in a hearing, but the delay was denied. Even
though there is no reason for the social worker to enter the home,
the judge stated that the social worker was required by law to make a
home visit. In addition, the social worker now claims that she has to
make the home visit to check for the presence of pneumonia.

We have now appealed the issue to the Superior Court in Harrisburg,
and we have filed a petition for an emergency stay so that the
family's Fourth Amendment rights are protected while the appeal
proceeds.

Please pray for the protection of the Gauthier family.


Sincerely,

James R. Mason, III
HSLDA Litigation Attorney



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