August 5, 2003

Texas Troubles

Bug Bites Equals Abuse?

This June, the Weed family in Longview, Texas, was surprised with a contact by the Child Protective Services based on an anonymous tip that their children were being neglected. The parents wisely refused to let the social workers talk to the children. However, they did allow the social worker to see them in order to assure the social worker that the children were fine.

A week later, the social worker came back escorted by a deputy sheriff. The family declined to talk to them and contacted HSLDA.

HSLDA Attorney Chris Klicka called the social worker to find out the allegations. The allegations were "children are malnourished, they used homeopathy, had home births, no social security numbers for the children, homeschooled, unsupervised near lake, sores on children, and 14-month old was not fed any solids."

It turned out that the children had some chigger bites, but everything else alleged was either false or completely legal. The family discovered that a relative, who opposed the Weed's homeschooling way of life, made the report.

Nonetheless, the social worker still insisted on entering the house and having the children interviewed alone. After long discussion with HSLDA and the supervisor of the social worker, the demand to enter the home was dropped. Finally, the social worker agreed to briefly talk to the children with their father present. HSLDA expects the situation to be resolved soon.

Houston Family Charged with "Contributing to Truancy"

Balleza family, homeschoolers in Arizona moved to the Houston, Texas, area in March, 2003, and enrolled their child in the O'Donnell Middle School with the Alief Independent School District.

Within three weeks, the Ballezas withdrew their child from the public school after experiencing many problems with school officials. The Ballezas decided to resume homeschooling. The reason for checking their daughter out of school was stated plainly on the withdrawal form as "homeschooling."

Even though the Ballezas were merely exerciseing their statutory and constitutional rights, the family received a summons to appear in court in September to answer for the offense of "parent contributing to truancy."

The family was upset and confused. Why would charges of truancy be brought against them when they had met all the requirements of the Texas law?

Senior Counsel, Chris Klicka is working to get the case dismissed before the truancy hearing.