April 5, 2011

HSLDA Opposing Mississippi Court Order

On March 23, 2011, Judge Joe Dale Walker of the Chancery Court of the Thirteenth District in Mississippi issued an order requiring attendance officers to provide the court with the names and addresses of homeschoolers in that district. The Thirteenth District includes the counties of Smith, Lawrence, Covington, Simpson, and Jefferson Davis.

After attendance officers in the affected counties were served with the order, they mailed letters to all homeschoolers in their respective areas on April 1, 2011, enclosing a copy of the judge’s order. The letters asked the families to notify the attendance officer in their county by April 8, 2011, as to whether they intended to initiate legal action to prevent release of the information sought by Judge Walker.

HSLDA is initiating such legal action on behalf of our member families residing within the Thirteenth District. Today we notified the attendance officers in all five counties that we are taking such action. HSLDA’s local counsel in this case is Sharkey Burke of Ridgeland, Mississippi.

At this point we do not know why Judge Walker is seeking this information, but we believe it is an inappropriate use of judicial power. There is no case before the court that gave rise to the issuance of this order. It appears to be simply information that the judge would like to have.