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February 13, 2017

State Admits: Homeschooling Grandma Did Nothing Wrong

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Darren Jones DARREN JONES Contact attorney for Illinois

The case of an Illinois grandmother facing unwarranted truancy charges over homeschooling has finally been dismissed without having to go to trial, due to the work of an expert witness obtained by HSLDA.

As we reported last May, the girl in the case was diagnosed with a sensory disorder and depression in 2013, so her mother decided it was best to homeschool her. But just before the end of the 2013–2014 school year, the mother unexpectedly passed away. The girl moved in with her grandmother, who continued her homeschool education while grieving the loss of the girl’s mother.

The local school district summoned the grandmother to attend several truancy committee meetings to defend her homeschool program. Although the committee wanted the girl back in school, the grandmother provided evidence of the emotional and educational progress her daughter had made while being homeschooled.

For months, the grandmother heard nothing from the truancy committee. Then in January 2016, a sheriff’s deputy served her with a summons to juvenile court. The summons was for the 2014–2015 school year, alleging that the granddaughter had skipped school the entire year!

At this point, the grandmother contacted Home School Legal Defense Association.

We pointed out to the prosecutor that all the issues from the 2014–2015 school year had already been resolved, but the state refused to acknowledge this. When they would not dismiss the case, we began to prepare for a trial.

HSLDA sent a highly qualified professor of school psychology to assess the granddaughter’s homeschool program. He prepared a detailed, comprehensive report about the girl’s educational achievement and personal aptitude. He also planned to attend the trial to testify about the girl’s homeschool program and educational environment.

After months of waiting for a trial date to be set, we finally received notice that the state had decided to dismiss the case.

When HSLDA became involved in this case, we were able to provide the grandmother with legal services and access to an education expert she would not have been able to afford on her own. We would not be able to help families like this without the generous support of HSLDA members and donors. You can assist our work in this area by giving to the Homeschool Freedom Fund.