December 19, 2005

Wisconsin School District Pressures Special-Needs Homeschooler

A member family in Wisconsin needed speech therapy for their son Jacob because he had been born with a cleft palate. The speech therapy treatment he had previously received had been provided privately. However, when the family moved into Johnson Creek, they received the services through the public school.

The family believed that after six years of speech therapy Jacob was speaking clearly and no longer needed speech therapy. Therefore, they wanted to discontinue his Evaluation and Individual Education Plan and sever ties with the public school. However, the school would not drop the IEP and the mother was worried that the school would charge her with educational neglect or inform social services.

Home School Legal Defense Association Senior Counsel Chris Klicka sent a letter to the school to inform them that the family would no longer be attending IEP meetings because they were longer pursuing public services. All of Jacob's needs would now be provided privately. Klicka explained that the family was not required to obtain services for their son through the school and that terminating the services was completely within their rights under Wisconsin law, and the First and Fourteenth Amendments of the Constitution. The public school's jurisdiction and control ended once the family decided to stop using public services.

The school district agreed with HSLDA because they responded by stating that they would comply with HSLDA's request and terminate all association with the family.