December 17, 2008

Justice of the Peace Thanks HSLDA for Assistance with Truancy Case

In October 2008, the Fillman family (named changed to protect privacy) withdrew their grandson from the local public school because of his recurring medical problems. Although the family had submitted doctor’s excuses for each day the boy had missed school and also turned in a comprehensive withdrawal letter, the Burleson Independent School District referred the family to court for truancy.

Two weeks after beginning their homeschooling program, the Fillmans received two criminal charges—quite a surprise because this was the first indication the family had that their grandson’s absences were problematic.

Mrs. Fillman contacted HSLDA for help. Senior Counsel Chris Klicka drafted a letter to the Justice of the Peace Jeff Monk which explained how the Fillman family were in full compliance with Texas law—both in withdrawing and homeschooling their grandson. Klicka provided Judge Monk with a memorandum outlining Texas homeschool law and documentation from the family, including a letter from the family pediatrician regarding the absences.

When the Fillmans appeared before Judge Monk, he expressed his appreciation for HSLDA’s information, stating that the school district had failed to provide him with the doctor’s note and withdrawal letter. Commenting that the case should have never come to him, Judge Monk stated that he is very much in favor of homeschooling and would even consider homeschooling his own children.

Judge Monk dismissed the case and the Fillman family is now freely homeschooling.