April 23, 2012

Homeschooling, Technology, and a Threatened Arrest Warrant—HSLDA to the Rescue

Staff Attorney Darren Jones is a member of HSLDA’s litigation team, which helps homeschool families who are facing legal challenges. He and his wife homeschool.

Firewalled. What we do want to happen to viruses trying to attack our computer. What we don’t want to happen to documents we send out, such as required homeschooling attendance reports.

In Linda and Dave Constant’s (names changed to protect privacy) experience, this technological error almost led to an arrest warrant before Home School Legal Defense Association stepped in to help.

The Constants submitted their notice of intent last August when they began homeschooling their young son. As required by Georgia law, they filed their monthly attendance records with the school district, using an online service for convenience.

Believing they were in compliance with the law, the Constants were surprised to learn in the last week of February that the school district had filed an application for Linda Constant’s arrest and scheduled a court hearing to consider issuing the warrant. The school district claimed they never received the attendance reports and that the Constants were in violation of the law. In collaboration with the online service through which they had submitted the attendance reports, the Constants identified the problem. Although they had filed their monthly attendance reports, the school district had never received them. The reports had been blocked by the security system on the school district’s servers.

HSLDA arranged to represent Linda Constant at her hearing and began working to make sure she wouldn’t have to go to the hearing. Despite explaining the error to the school district—an error caused by the school district’s own computer system—the district refused to stop the legal proceedings. We directed the Constants to deliver the attendance reports to the school in person and receive a receipt from the school office. Finally, the school district met with the family and agreed to cancel the hearing. In less than a week, HSLDA had cleared the Constants of all legal proceedings.