Home School Legal Defense Association

P.O. Box 3000, Purcellville, VA 20134

For Immediate Release Contact: Ian Slatter
July 16, 2003 (540) 338-8663


Washington, DC - In a long awaited decision the North Carolina Supreme Court ruled 7-0 against the Department of Child Protective Services declaring that the department did not have a legitimate basis to even begin an investigation of the Stumbos.

"This is a great victory for parents in North Carolina. The decision means that families will be protected from aggressive social workers who are acting solely on the basis of anonymous tips," said Jim Mason Litigation Attorney for Home School Legal Defense Association (HSLDA). HSLDA represented the Stumbos throughout the case.

The Stumbos' troubles began one warm September 1999 morning when their 2-year-old daughter slipped outside halfway through dressing - without any clothes - to chase her new kitten. Although an older sibling retrieved her a mere three minutes later, it was too late. A passerby reported the family to social services.

Two hours later, a social worker showed up at the Stumbos' door, demanding to enter their home and privately interview each child. At HSLDA's advice, the Stumbos refused to let the social worker in.

Despite having no probable cause for entry and private interviews, the social worker convinced a judge to issue a court order forcing the family to comply. HSLDA immediately challenged the order, but the North Carolina Court of Appeals upheld it, deciding that the order did not constitute a "search" under the Fourth Amendment. The Stumbos then appealed to the supreme court, which heard the case in February 2002.

"We're just glad this ordeal is over and hopefully this decision will help other families across the country," said Mary Ann Stumbo.

If your organization would like to schedule an interview with Jim Mason, please call Ian Slatter, Director of Media Relations (540) 338 8663 or via e-mail Ian@hslda.org.

Home School Legal Defense Association (HSLDA) is a 20 year old, 75,000 member non-profit organization and the preeminent association advocating the legal right of parents to home school their children.