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October 2, 2012

On the Case:

Parents’ Homeschool Rights Affirmed

Senior Counsel Jim Mason is a member of HSLDA’s litigation team. He and his wife homeschool.
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Last spring, social services investigators visited John and Michelle Hoover (names changed to protect privacy) concerning an allegation that the Hoovers were neglecting their children’s education. Since the investigators were unfamiliar with Mississippi homeschool law, they first told the parents that their homeschool curriculum had to be accredited.

Later, they insisted that the children be enrolled in public school because their standardized achievement tests were not up to the investigators’ “expectations.” Actually, the Hoover children had tested at their grade level on a standardized achievement test and even exceeded their grade level on reading and comprehension.

The Hoover family immediately contacted Home School Legal Defense Association. Senior Counsel Dewitt Black sent a letter to the Department of Human Services affirming that the Hoover family was in compliance with Mississippi homeschool law. Mississippi requires homeschool families to annually file a certificate of enrollment, which Mr. Hoover had done for the current school year. Consequently, they had a legal right to continue homeschooling their children.

Despite Attorney Black’s letter, the Department of Human Services proceeded with its investigation into educational neglect and scheduled a hearing for the Hoovers to appear in court. While the investigation had originated through a misunderstanding of homeschool law, it was now a direct attack on the Hoovers’ right to homeschool. HSLDA represented the family at their hearing, again affirming that they were in compliance with Mississippi law and that their choice to homeschool was protected by law.

During the hearing, the social service workers backed off their earlier charges. We are currently in the process of confirming with the social services that the Hoovers are no longer under investigation for educational neglect.