From the HSLDA E-lert Service:


12/5/2011 3:25:56 PM
Home School Legal Defense Association
California Hearing Officer: "Claimant's Home School Constitutes a Private School

From the HSLDA E-lert Service...

California Hearing Officer: "Claimant's
Home School Constitutes a Private School"

Dear HSLDA Members and Friends:

In October 2011, HSLDA Litigation Attorney Darren Jones successfully
defended a homeschool mom against a county welfare department, which
had discontinued her 16-year-old daughter's welfare check, arguing
that her attendance in a private homeschool did not satisfy the law's
requirements for "regular school attendance."

A little background is in order. Over the years, HSLDA has defended
California homeschoolers in a variety of cases, both large and small.
Many of the cases arose because many years ago Department of Education
officials took the public position that homeschooling in California
was illegal.

In spite of the CDE's stated position, homeschooling grew and thrived
under the private-school option. Prosecutions for truancy were almost
nonexistent because the public schools in California, for the most
part, accepted that homeschooling existed under the private-school

But the CDE's memos found their way into the hands of county welfare
officials, which resulted in several "small" cases all over the state
in the 1990s and throughout the first decade of the new millennium.
According to California's welfare laws, when a child who receives
state aid turns 16, her parents must provide proof that the child is
in regular attendance at school to continue receiving the aid.
Relying on the old, incorrect letter from the CDE, county welfare
officials denied continuing payments if the child was homeschooled.

HSDLA defended every one of these cases that we became aware of to
prevent bad legal precedent from being set. We won every one. These
"small" cases never became big cases. And they helped us to develop
and refine our legal arguments in preparation for the "big" one.

Which arrived in 2008, when the California Court of Appeal ruled that
homeschooling was illegal in a juvenile dependency case. The opinion
was published, which meant that everyone who homeschooled under the
private-school option was in potential jeopardy. We at HSLDA did not
learn about In re Rachel L. until it was too late because the trial
was confidential, but the published appellate decision was public.

We, along with a coalition of legal groups friendly to homeschooling,
successfully petitioned for rehearing. Within a few months the same
appellate court that had ruled that homeschooling was illegal changed
its mind and held that homeschooling was legal under the private
school statute.

Ironically, the Court of Appeal relied on the statutory argument we
had been perfecting for years in the welfare cases. The new opinion,
In re Jonathan L., unequivocally held that homeschooling is legal in
California under the private-school option.

But those old memos never seem to die. Earlier this year Sonoma
County suspended benefits to Mrs. Fabiano's (name changed to protect
privacy) daughter when she turned 16 because she was homeschooled
under the private-school statute. The county's policy regarding
school attendance was 12 years old and was clearly written with the
old memo in mind.

This time attorney Jones was able to rely on the published Jonathan L.
case from 2008. And the hearing officer was able to cite to a
published appellate court decision when she rejected the county's
erroneous policy.

Where our homeschool freedoms are concerned there are no "small"

You can help HSLDA defend homeschool families by donating to the
Homeschool Freedom Fund:

-> Will your children's inheritance retain its value?

If you pass on a legacy of freedom, your children and their
children's children will thank you. But freedom is never secure;
it must always be guarded. Membership with HSLDA is an investment
in the future that can be passed on to future generations of
families wanting to teach their children at home.

More reasons to join HSLDA...

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Home School Legal Defense Association
P.O. Box 3000
Purcellville, Virginia 20134
Phone: (540) 338-5600
Fax: (540) 338-2733

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