December 12, 2016

False Report Leads to Threat of Legal Action


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Homeschooling parents in Montana were threatened with legal action based on their disagreement with a child protection specialist over how their child’s educational needs should be met.

Contact attorney for Montana

The specialist had begun investigating the family after an unknown reporter alleged that the family’s house was messy.

The specialist visited the home and quickly found that this allegation was false: the house was lived-in, but clean. He returned a week later and came to the same conclusion about the home—it was safe. After interacting with the family, he became interested in learning more about their 9-year-old daughter, who has autism and vision challenges.

The family was aware of their daughter’s unique challenges. They had already had her evaluated by a private psychologist, who determined that her needs were being met in her current home environment, and they were working closely with an ophthalmologist to care for her vision.

Back Again

A month later, the specialist returned to the home again. He talked with the 9-year-old and asked her to read for him, which she did. He said he was impressed, but he still didn’t close the case.

In fact, the specialist insisted that the family take their daughter to the public school for an evaluation, and threatened to take the family to court if they didn’t comply.

At this point, the family joined Home School Legal Defense Association.

Dan Beasley, HSLDA’s contact attorney for Montana, wrote the specialist and asserted the family’s right to educate their daughter at home and utilize private professionals and services to meet her unique learning needs. He explained that the family was in compliance with Montana law and that they were under no legal obligation to access services through the public school.

The specialist quickly responded with an email clarifying that he was not trying to force services on the family, but he wanted to make sure they were aware of the free services available through the school district. He also had some questions about the legal requirements for homeschooling.

Beasley responded to the email, and the family has not received any further contact from the specialist.

If you are a member of HSLDA and have questions about educating a child with special needs, please contact HSLDA’s special needs consultant team. Our consultants are happy to provide you with support, encouragement, and guidance as you strive to provide the best education for your child.