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Louisiana

June 29, 2007

Homeschool Discrimination Averted at Art Festival

Recently the City of Shreveport celebrated the 23rd annual Art Break Festival. The event provides students an opportunity to demonstrate skills in everything from painting, to dance and vocals. Over the years homeschool students have participated in the Art Break competition. Some have done quite well.

However, as homeschool families hurried to get their applications in this year, they were told that homeschool students would not be permitted to participate. This was particularly troubling news to one Home School Legal Defense Association member family whose talented daughter had previously won first place in the vocal competition. The Leblanc family tried to appeal to Art Break officials, but were told that it would be unfair to public school students if homeschoolers were permitted to participate. The family immediately contacted HSLDA for help.

HSLDA Staff Attorney Thomas Schmidt contacted various Art Break officials and reminded them that the event was partly sponsored by the City of Shreveport, and event literature specifically stated it was for the benefit of all students in the area. Schmidt also was concerned that these actions by Art Break officials might be considered discrimination against homeschool students. Any public outcry against this perceived discrimination could cause the corporate sponsors to reevaluate their participation in the event. The contacted officials quickly reversed course, and again welcomed homeschool competitors.

Many homeschool students went on to claim prizes in various completions. All of the competitors walked away with a sense of well-earned accomplishment, which they will treasure for years to come.