From the HSLDA E-lert Service:


1/26/2012 12:27:01 PM
Home School Legal Defense Association

From the HSLDA E-lert Service...

"Let me in or I'll huff and I'll puff and . . . I'll take your kids!"

Dear friend of homeschooling,

No, these are not the words of the Big Bad Wolf. They are, however,
the words of Arizona social workers who were investigating a
two-month-old anonymous report that John and Tiffany Loudermilk's home
contained safety hazards (except for the huff-and-puff part--I made
that up).

For 40 terrifying minutes, this homeschooling couple had asserted
their Fourth Amendment right to be free from an unreasonable search of
their home. The two investigative social workers were eventually
joined by six uniformed sheriff's deputies who were called because the
social workers considered the Loudermilks to be "uncooperative." The
Loudermilks called Home School Legal Defense Association, and attorney
Thomas J. Schmidt spoke with the social workers, the deputies, and an
assistant attorney general, in an attempt to defuse the situation.

Then the social workers played their ace-in-the-hole. "If you don't
let us in immediately," they said, "we will take your children into
state custody."

As any parent can understand, the Loudermilks allowed the assembled
officials into their home to verify that the anonymous report was
false rather than have their children suffer the needless trauma of
being forcibly removed.
Petition for Certiorari: Asking the Supreme Court to step in

In the two months between receiving the anonymous report and arriving
unannounced on the Loudermilks' front porch, social services clearly
never believed that the situation needed emergency intervention. No
one ever asked a judge for a court order. But when it came time for
the social workers to complete their investigation, the family's
Fourth Amendment rights just got in the way.

HSLDA sued the social workers and the deputies in federal court in
2006. After much legal maneuvering by the social workers and the
deputies, the trial-court judge said in 2010 that the case could go to

But the deputies appealed that decision to the United States Court of
Appeals for the Ninth Circuit in San Francisco. In October 2011, the
Ninth Circuit reversed and said that "a reasonable police officer
would not have known that consent [to enter the home] was involuntary"
under these circumstances.

Now, HSLDA Chairman Mike Farris, along with his litigation team, is
asking the Supreme Court of the United States to review the
inexplicable decision of the Ninth Circuit. From our brief:

Every parent in America knows the correct answer to the ultimate
question in this case. When social workers and police officers tell
parents "if you don't let us in your house to search, we are going to
take your children" any "consent" to search has been coerced. The
Ninth Circuit, however, ruled that this ultimatum was not improperly
coercive because the threat to remove the children was "not baseless."

Accordingly, the legal issue that must be resolved is whether the
social workers and police officers had a constitutionally legitimate
basis for threatening to remove the Loudermilk children.

Read the rest of our petition to the U.S. Supreme Court here:

Your tax-deductible donation to the Homeschool Freedom Fund enables us
to fight important cases for the broader principle of parental rights.
Donate now:

Storming the castle

HSLDA was established to defend parental rights in the context of
homeschooling. How did we become involved in social-worker

In the early days of the modern homeschooling movement, many parents
closed the curtains and made sure that their children were not seen
outside during school hours because homeschooling was thought to be
illegal in many states and by many school officials.

In those days, the knock at the door might well have been a social
worker investigating why the children were not in school. HSLDA
quickly learned that protecting homeschooling also meant protecting
the home.

Consistent with our experience, Duke University Professor of Law
Doriane Coleman says that caseworkers routinely "storm the castle,
opening closed bedroom doors to find, talk to, examine, and remove the
children; opening and looking through refrigerators and cupboards to
see if the children have sufficient food to eat; opening and searching
closets and drawers to check if the children have enough clothing and
that no inappropriate disciplinary methods are being used in the

According to her, these home "visits," which "epitomize deep
intrusion[s] in both symbolic and actual respects," can shatter the
innocence of even the youngest of children, exposing them to a broad
range of emotional responses, including "trauma, anxiety, fear, shame,
guilt, stigmatization, powerlessness, self-doubt, depression, and

Since HSLDA began defending homeschooling in 1983, we have helped
thousands of innocent families who were the subject of these kinds of
investigations. Most of the time, we helped resolve these
investigations without needing to go to court. Sometimes, however,
those situations made it into court. In addition to successfully
defending the families, we were able to use those opportunities to
establish good law in state or federal courts: . But the scope and magnitude
of the problem just keep growing.

In 2010, the most recent year for which data is available, state
investigations intruded into the private lives of more than 3 million
children, only to conclude that the incursions were unnecessary in
more than 73% of cases.2 Without clear constitutional guidelines,
millions of children each year confront "a disturbingly overbroad
scheme that wrongfully captures hundreds of thousands of children
within its auspices each year."3

"The Supreme Court of the United States has never taken a case
involving the Fourth Amendment rights of families who are in the
middle of a social services investigation at their home," says Michael
Farris, lead counsel in the case. "We think it is high time it does."

Stand with us!
What can you do?

* First and foremost, we ask that you pray. The petition we are
filing is only the first step. In this "petition for certiorari," we
are asking the Supreme Court to agree to take our case. In a typical
year, the Supreme Court gets over 8,000 of these applications and
accepts fewer than 100. Please pray that at least four members of the
Court will agree that it is high time to bring the Constitution to
bear on social-worker investigations.

* Second, consider making a tax-deductible financial gift. The
assault on parental rights comes to us on many fronts, and the
increasing number of such high-level cases stretches HSLDA's resources
to the limit. This is why we have set up the Homeschool Freedom Fund,
to enable us to fight important cases for the broader principle of
parental rights.

Fighting a case of this magnitude is an expensive proposition. If you
would like to stand with us in this critical battle, I would ask you
to send the very best gift you can to the Home School Foundation's
Homeschool Freedom Fund. All gifts to HSF are tax-deductible.

Donate Now:

Our nation was founded upon the traditions of Western civilization.
This civilization was founded on the principles of the Word of God.
God gives children to parents--not to the state. And one of our more
cherished freedoms is the knowledge that we can be secure in our own
homes. In cases like this one, our legal system must remain steadfast
in following the principles our founders laid out for the good of "We
the people," including our children.

Please pray for favor with the Supreme Court and help as best you can.
Thank you.

James R. Mason
Senior Counsel

P.S. Your generous tax-deductible donation will help HSLDA defend
parents' rights and stand beside innocent homeschooling families like
the Loudermilks all the way to the U.S. Supreme Court.


1 Doriane L. Coleman, Storming the Castle to Save the Children: The
Ironic Costs of a Child-welfare Exception to the Fourth Amendment, 47
WM. & MARY L. REV. 413, 444 (2005).
CHILDREN, YOUTH AND FAMILIES, "Child Maltreatment 2010" 20 (2011),
available at, visited
January 13, 2011.
3 Storming the Castle, 47 WM. & MARY L. REV. at 444.

-> Extreme makeovers are for extreme circumstances...

Most homeschools don't need an extreme makeover, but there is
something to be said for attention to detail and recognition of
accomplishments. Watch the media and you'll soon see that not
everyone wants home educators and homeschooling to look good.
HSLDA works hard to shed light on the good work of home educators
so it's obvious that we don't need someone "making-over" our
homeschools. Join HSLDA and help us show the world that we're fine
as we are . . . thank you!

More reasons to join HSLDA...

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Home School Legal Defense Association
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