April 1, 2009

When School Districts Get it Wrong

When dealing with public school officials, there are times it is difficult to determine if they are misinformed or if they are deliberately trying to apply pressure to parents who want to homeschool their children. In California, if you pull your children out of public school during the school year, you do not know what reaction that decision will elicit from the public school district personnel.

One family in California, after trying to work with the public school to accommodate their child's medical needs, felt like they had no other option available to them but to withdraw from the public school and homeschool their child under the private school exemption.

When the family told school personnel of their decision to homeschool, they were informed that they could not homeschool their child, that it was not legal, and they would wind up in jail. That response is particularly troubling since there has been a case decision that received national attention confirming that in California it is indeed legal for parents to homeschool their children under the private school statutes. (Jonathan L. v. Superior Court, 81 Cal.Rptr.3d 571, 2008 WL 3197535, Cal.App. 2 Dist.,2008.)

It is puzzling why a school district would not be informed about this very important case. But it does point out the obvious, that sometimes school districts still get it wrong. Even when the law is clearly on the side of a parent’s right to choose home education for their children, in some instances the public school establishment can still be unsupportive, if not downright hostile.

California homeschoolers know all too well that despite the fact that they have tremendous freedom under the private school statute and that California should be a “safe” state, you can never be complacent about freedom. There is always someone at the door waiting to take it away from you, whether through the legislature or interaction with public school officials. HSLDA is grateful that so many of you stand with us in the fight to protect our right to homeschool.