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January 9, 2012

HSLDA Efforts Achieve Cancellation of Truancy Hearing

When the Pasadena Unified School District sent homeschooling mother Karol Summer (name changed to protect privacy) a subpoena for truancy in December 2011, she contacted Home School Legal Defense Association. To avoid bullying issues and an unhealthy academic environment, Ms. Summer withdrew her 6th- and 7th-grade children from public school in June and began homeschooling in the fall of 2011. Since homeschools in California legally function as private schools, Ms. Summer submitted the required affidavit for her school.

Regrettably, the school district harassed Ms. Summer throughout the fall of 2011, alleging that her children were truant, despite the fact they were not enrolled there for the 2011–2012 school year. Ignoring Ms. Summer’s explanation that her children were homeschooled, child welfare officials visited her house on two separate occasions, and a school administrator left threatening voice messages. Finally, Ms. Summer called HSLDA after receiving a subpoena to appear with her children at a School Attendance Review Board (SARB).

Responding to the truancy charges, HSLDA Attorney Darren Jones insisted that the SARB cancel the hearing because Ms. Summer’s children were enrolled in a homeschool recognized by California law and recent legal precedent. In a follow-up phone call, Mr. Jones verified that the SARB acknowledged his arguments had canceled the hearing, and that the school district had ceased harassing Ms. Summer.

Reflecting on the case, Darren Jones stated: “HSLDA recommends that homeschooling parents facing a SARB hearing have legal representation. If needed, HSLDA would have sent a lawyer to Ms. Summer’s hearing; however, we are delighted that the hearing was canceled and the school district now recognizes Ms. Summer’s homeschool program.”