September 5, 2007

Prosecutor Persuaded to Dismiss Truancy Case

The Huggins family decided to homeschool another one of their children, their 16-year-old, Jethro. He wanted to be at home, and the parents believed it would be best for him.

The family withdrew Jethro from Jackson County Schools and began to homeschool him in April of 2007. Things were going well until August, when the family received a summons to appear in court on truancy charges.

When the Huggins withdrew their son from the public school, they did not file a notice of intent as required under state homeschool law. Because Jethro was 16, he was no longer subject to Florida’s compulsory school attendance laws, and his family was free to homeschool him without the hassle of answering to the public school.

Assuming the truancy charges were a mistake, Home School Legal Defense Association attorney Chris Klicka contacted the school district on behalf of the family. One of the school officials involved informed him that the family did not fill out an additional form, which is why the truancy petition was filed. When Klicka told the official that the family received no notice of any form, the official referred him to the school board’s lawyer. This lawyer was convinced that the case could be dismissed, but said that Klicka had to contact the prosecutor. Klicka then called the prosecutor and was able to persuade her to dismiss the case.

Furthermore, the summons did not even have the child’s correct birthday! The birth date on the document listed Jethro as only 8 years old!

The family is excited that they did not have to appear in court and that the case has been dismissed. They can continue homeschooling their children for the new school year.