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School district tries to force special education evaluation on homeschooled student
Filed: December 10, 2002.
Nature of Case: After years of fruitless attempts to get the school district to assist their special needs son, Mr. and Mrs. F withdrew him to begin homeschooling. The school district, however, initiated a due process hearing under the federal Individuals with Disabilities in Education Act (IDEA) to force them to have him evaluated for special needs by the public school, even though the parents wanted nothing more from the public school.
In a telephone conference on February 24, Home School Legal Defense Association argued that the case should be dismissed due to lack of jurisdiction, but the hearing officer ruled that the case should go forward. On March 6, 2003, the hearing officer denied HSLDA's motion to dismiss, and on April 4, a three-member hearing panel ordered that the F's son be evaluated. HSLDA appealed by filing an action in federal court, which court ruled against the F family on August 18, 2004.
On October 3, 2005, the United States filed an amicus brief at the Court's request, fully supporting HSLDA's position, and oral arguments were held on October 10, 2005.Status: On March 1, 2006, the United States Court of Appeals for the Eighth Circuit held that the federal Individuals with Disabilities in Education Act (IDEA) does not give public schools jurisdiction over homeschooled children who may have special needs. "Where a home-schooled child's parents refuse consent [for an evaluation], privately educate the child, and expressly waive all benefits under the IDEA, an evaluation would have no purpose. . . . [A] district may not force an evaluation under the circumstances in this case." Closed.
Note: HSLDA is working to fix future problems like this by amending federal law.
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Last Updated: March 28, 2006
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