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August 24, 2009

Los Angeles Daytime Curfew Citation Dismissed

On June 5, homeschooled teenagers Tom and Abigail Miller (names changed to protect privacy) took the bus from their home to a local community college to sign up for classes. As they walked from the bus stop to the entrance of the college, an LAPD officer drove up and asked them what they were doing. Tom explained that they were homeschooled and that their school was not in session that day. He explained that they were using the time to enroll in college classes and pointed to the community college behind him.

The officer nevertheless ordered them into his patrol car and cited them for violating Los Angeles’s daytime curfew ordinance. He said they had to obey the ordinance even though they were homeschooled because L.A. public schools were still in session that day. He transported them to a receiving center where other children were being processed that day as part of a planned “truancy sweep.” The Miller teenagers were held at the center until their mother could pick them up later in the day.

HSLDA Senior Counsel James R. Mason filed a motion to dismiss the citation, which was granted at the initial appearance.

“Homeschoolers in California are not required to follow the public school schedule and should not be cited for daytime curfew violations,” said Mason.

After the citation was dismissed Mr. and Mrs. Miller wrote:

We would like to thank you for the time and effort you put into getting the truancy charges against our son and daughter dismissed.

I would also like to thank you for your reassurance that HSLDA would not give up no matter how far the case may have gone.

We appreciate all that you and everyone at HSLDA does.

We are looking into ways to prevent the Los Angeles daytime curfew ordinance from affecting homeschoolers in the future.