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April 17, 2006

Homeschooler Wins Short-Notice Court Case

In 24 hours, a battle for freedom was won in Liberty, Texas.

On April 11, 2006, the McKeever family first received notice that they were required to appear April 12 for a hearing regarding their son—or risk jail and a $500 fine. There was not even any indication of what the charges were.

The McKeevers received no phone calls from the local school district, nor any visit from a truant officer indicating any problem whatsoever. Only by calling the court clerk did the family find out the hearing was for alleged truancy.

On January 26, Miss McKeever had given an appropriate letter of withdrawal to Liberty Middle School. She also clearly indicated her reason for withdrawal was to homeschool her son who was having difficulty in the public school.

The McKeevers did everything properly.

After receiving the notice to appear in court, the McKeever family contacted the Home School Legal Defense Association, using the emergency line, and talked with Senior Counsel Chris Klicka. He prepared Miss McKeever and her son to appear in court.

Early the next morning, Klicka called the court. Since it was before opening, the judge who was hearing the case answered the phone!

Klicka told him the McKeevers had not been afforded sufficient notice and were legally homeschooling. Klicka also promised to fax the judge a legal memorandum on homeschooling in Texas.

Miss McKeever went to the court for her 9 o'clock hearing. Several cases were heard before hers. In each one, the judge sentenced the teenagers facing charges to serve jail time! Miss McKeever sat nervously for her turn before the judge.

Upon reaching the McKeever case, the judge, said, "I talked with Mr. Klicka and he explained your situation. Thank you for taking your son's education seriously." He indicated he had read the legal memo and then went on for five minutes applauding the McKeever's homeschool!

The school official looked visibly upset when the judge finally announced, "We will just have to dismiss the case."