Family Wins Round Two
Case: Loudermilk Family v. Administration for Children, Youth and Families|
by Darren A. Jones
In a federal lawsuit filed March 3, 2006, and reported previously in the Home School Court Report (see the January/February 2008 issue), HSLDA sued two child protective service (CPS) workers who showed up at the Loudermilk family’s door accompanied by numerous sheriff's deputies, two months after an anonymous tipster had reported the family.
After winning the first round of the lawsuit almost three years ago, when the judge
ruled not to dismiss the family's claims against the CPS workers, HSLDA has been fighting the state’s attempt to have the caseworkers declared immune from litigation. The state argued that the family had voluntarily allowed the investigators into the home—ignoring the fact that one of the caseworker had threatened to remove the children for 72 hours if the parents did not permit entry!
On March 31, 2010, the judge denied the state’s motion for summary judgment, stating, “The disputed questions of fact on these [consent] issues . . . preclude summary judgment.” He ruled that a jury must determine whether the Loudermilks were coerced by the CPS investigators and sheriff’s deputies.
“We are grateful that the judge is taking this matter seriously and making sure that a family’s right to be together is protected,” said HSLDA Staff Attorney Darren Jones. “The Loudermilks are doing a service to all families by their willingness to stand up against unjustified state intervention, not just at the initial contact, but for the four years this case has been going on.”
School Backs off on Special Needs Evaluation
Case: M Family v. East Northport Union Free School District|
by Nicholas Bolzman
Up until this past February, Luke Miller (name changed to protect privacy) was enrolled in public school. And he might have remained there, had the school not suddenly begun to evaluate Luke for special needs without the consent of his parents. Since they wished to meet any special needs privately, that action convinced Mr. and Mrs. Miller to withdraw him from school and begin homeschooling, so they filed the necessary paperwork.
The school, however, was reluctant to let Luke go. Believing that continued evaluations were necessary and that it had authority to force the evaluations, the public school initiated a due process hearing to force the family to comply.
The family quickly turned to HSLDA for help. When we contacted the school's attorney, he pointed to the New York Department of Education decision in a previous New York case that addressed the same question. However, he was apparently unaware that HSLDA had appealed that very decision to federal court, which led to a ruling clarifying that public schools do not have authority to force homeschooling parents to consent to evaluations. (See “Long-awaited Victory in Special Needs Case,” May/June 2007 Court Report.) Simultaneously, HSLDA had successfully lobbied Congress to amend the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act to preserve the parental freedom to decline evaluations.
After reviewing the documents we sent, the school conceded and decided to withdraw its due process request. In just over three weeks from the school’s initial filing, the hearing request had been withdrawn and the family was free to homeschool without interference.
AL B Family v. Social Security Administration
CA L Family v. Social Security Administration
CA M Family v. County of San Bernardino
CA S Family v. County of Los Angeles
DC In re: DP
FL B Family v. Florida High School Athletic Association
HI A Family v. Department of Veterans Affairs
IN S Family v. Social Security Administration
KS In re: A & CC
MA Attleboro Public Schools v. S Family
MI In re: T Family
NY In re: B Family
NY New York v. C Family
OH Ohio v. V Family
PA Newborn v. Franklin Regional School District
TX K Family v. Social Security Administration
WA F Family v. Department of Veterans Affairs
|About the author
Nicholas Bolzman is a litigation assistant