March 18, 2008

Unfolding Legal Process in California

The legal effort to overturn the California Court of Appeal ruling that held that parents must have teaching certificates to homeschool began in earnest last Friday.

Attorneys for the father at the center of In re Rachel L. filed a petition for rehearing on Friday, March 14, 2008. Attorneys associated with Alliance Defense Fund and United States Justice Foundation are assisting the father.

“This is an opportunity for the Court of Appeal to reconsider its reasoning in this case,” said HSLDA Chairman Mike Farris. The opinion becomes final on March 29, 2008 unless the Court of Appeal grants the petition for rehearing.

Also on Friday, Pacific Justice Institute filed a motion to intervene in the Court of Appeal case on behalf of Sunland Christian School, the umbrella private school in which the children were enrolled. The school also asked the Court to allow them to join the petition for rehearing.

As you know, this case has generated much interest in California and across the country. Dr. James Dobson of Focus on the Family used his influence to highlight this wrong-headed court decision. HSLDA is pleased to have the support of Dr. Dobson, and many other organizations, as we fight to defend homeschool freedom in California.

We do not know what decision the Court of Appeal will make regarding the petition for rehearing but we do know that homeschoolers are unified in California, and have the broad support of the public.

It’s hard to predict the exact path of legal action but if the case heads to the California Supreme Court, HSLDA will be filing a friend-of-the-court brief on behalf of our 14,000 member families in California.

We will also be coordinating closely with attorneys representing a broad spectrum of homeschooling groups to insure that the Supreme Court fully understands that homeschoolers in California come from every walk of life and from diverse religious and political backgrounds. Those groups could include Christian Home Educators Association, California Homeschool Network, HomeSchool Association of California, Family Protection Ministries, and others.

Many national groups including Focus on the Family, Christian Legal Society, American Center for Law and Justice, Heritage Foundation, Liberty Counsel, Christian Law Association, and others have also expressed a desire to weigh in on this case and will be following HSLDA’s lead to ensure that all of the issues related to such an important case are fully developed.

We are confident that we have strong arguments to make and that ultimately homeschool freedom will be protected in California.