April 5, 2001

Wrongly Jailed Mom Cleared by Missouri Court

An educational neglect case against a Missouri home school mom was thrown out of circuit court this week, when it became clear that she had violated no laws. The woman's son was also returned to her custody.

Cathy C had no idea she would soon be in jail when she withdrew her second-grade son, Ethan, from public school. She had notified the superintendent by letter as a matter of courtesy. She even went so far as to file a Declaration of Enrollment of Home Education with the recorder of deeds---a step not required by state law. But that didn't deter the local authorities.

On February 22, 2001, when Ethan had missed only eight days of school, Ms. C was charged with educational neglect and arrested one week later. The child was removed from her custody and placed with the father. Ms. C spent three days in jail before she was released on a $750 bond.

"We feel that the court responded properly to these spurious charges," said David Gordon, the attorney from the Home School Legal Defense Association who was prepared to try the case. "This is a victory for the parental right to home school."

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More information on State v. Cathy C