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January 13, 2009

Family Accused of Sending Kids to Bed Too Early

In September, an HSLDA member family in Sinton was visited by a social worker who had a list of allegations an anonymous tipster had called in. The list included that the family homeschools, that the children are sent to bed “really early” and do not play with neighbor kids, and that there are firearms in the home.

The family knew better than to let the social worker into their home and called Home School Legal Defense Association for help. Senior Counsel Chris Klicka took the call and advised the family to let the social worker see the children, so she knew they were fine. In addition, Klicka had the family tell the social worker that he would be contacting her soon to set up an appointment.

After the social worker left, Klicka had the family compile letters of reference from relatives and friends who could vouch for the care the parents provide. In addition, Klicka drafted a letter and sent it to the social worker explaining that all the allegations were false. Klicka did confirm that the family does indeed homeschool their children and also keeps firearms in their home (although locked and inaccessible to children).

The letter further explained that homeschooling is legal, and that the family followed the Texas Supreme Court’s guidelines for operating a homeschool program. Klicka also explained that the possession of firearms in the home was legal, and that the firearms did not present a danger since they were kept completely out of reach of the children.

The letter indicated that the parents would be willing to schedule a time for the social worker to visit their house and talk to them about their children. Klicka made it clear, however, that the family would decline any request to enter their home and interview their children since the family already let the social worker see, and talk briefly with the children, during the initial visit.

After receiving the letters from friends of the family, as well as the letter from attorney Klicka, the social worker arranged to meet the family later and was again able to see for herself that the allegations were false. Social services has since dropped the case.

HSLDA Social Services Contact Policy

We desire to advise our members in every contact with a social worker and/or police officer in investigations resulting from allegations of abuse or neglect. If homeschooling is an issue, we will represent our member families until the issue is resolved. On Fourth Amendment unreasonable search and seizure issues, HSLDA will advise our members whenever the privacy of their home is violated by forced or coerced entry for the purpose of an unsubstantiated investigation. HSLDA membership benefits do not extend to court actions resulting from non-homeschooling matters. However, in circumstances where there is a clear violation of the Fourth Amendment, HSLDA may, as we have done in the past, choose to take the case in an effort to establish legal precedent.