June 25, 2001

Missouri: HSLDA Defends Family's Privacy

A St. Charles County prosecutor dropped his investigation upon intervention by the Home School Legal Defense Association and a family's verbal assurance that they are educating their daughter.

The case arose when a report was made to the Department of Family Services (DFS) that the seven-year-old D child could not read and was not being properly educated at home. Mr. and Mrs. D explained to the caseworker that their daughter could, indeed, read.

But when Mr. and Mrs. D would not produce their records or permit an interview of their daughter, DFS referred the case to the county prosecutor. The prosecutor obtained a subpoena requiring the production of all educational materials.

In response, HSLDA filed a motion in the circuit court to quash the subpoena on the ground that the child was not seven on July 1, 2000—the official beginning of the school year, according to Missouri law. Thus, we argued that no compulsory attendance laws applied to the child.

Without agreeing that we were correct in our interpretation of the law, the prosecutor withdrew the subpoena prior to the hearing on June 21, 2001. No records were produced, and the child was never interviewed.