October 26, 2001

Massachusetts Superintendent Backs Down on Home Visits

A Home School Legal Defense Association member family recently received a letter from their local school in the Adams-Cheshire School District, informing them that a school adjustment counselor/social worker would be conducting several visits to their home during the school year.

Concerned that this procedure went beyond state law and violated their constitutional right to privacy, the family called HSLDA’s office. Our legal staff contacted the district superintendent immediately, resulting in several lengthy telephone conversations. We pointed out that the Massachusetts Supreme Judicial Court, in its 1998 Brunelle decision, ruled that school districts may not force such visits on home schoolers by threatening to prosecute them for "unauthorized home schooling." HSLDA fought this battle in court for more than seven years on behalf of our member families.

When we explained this decision to the Adams-Cheshire superintendent, he contacted his own lawyer who confirmed that he could not require warrantless home visits. In a follow-up telephone conversation with HSLDA, the superintendent agreed that his district would no longer attempt to conduct these unauthorized visits.