Home School Legal Defense Association
February 13, 2001

EMERGENCY APPEAL IN KENTUCKY

Home schooling is perfectly legal in Kentucky, but on Tuesday, February 13, 2001, a district court judge found a home schooled teenager guilty of habitual truancy and ordered her to attend public school every single day until she graduates. HSLDA Attorney David Gordon, who represented the family at the trial, has filed an emergency petition to block this order while the family appeals this shocking verdict. HSLDA asks for your prayers for an immediate response from the appeals court.

Sarah D was accused of being absent from the public school on days that she was in attendance at a legal home school. District Court Judge Carol Browning refused to consider whether her home school was in compliance with the law. Once she concluded that Sarah was a habitual truant, Judge Browning rejected all efforts to allow her to continue her education at home. The judge ignored expert testimony about Sarah's home school program that was offered by Dr. Brian Ray, head of the National Home Education Research Institute.

The judge allowed her personal opinion to cloud her legal thinking. Home schooling was simply not appropriate at the high school level, Judge Browning insisted. The judge told Sarah that even though she herself had earned an advanced degree, she was still not qualified to give her own child the education he deserved. On that basis, she ordered Sarah to go back to public school immediately.

A Kentucky appeals court has already overturned one outrageous order in this case. Earlier this fall, Judge Browning issued a "pick-up order" for Sarah and an arrest warrant for her mother. The appellate court issued a writ of prohibition, blocking these orders. The higher court found that Judge Browning had ignored the family's rights by issuing the warrant and pick-up order without any notice or opportunity to be heard.

Without similar action by the higher court right now, Sarah may be forced to attend public school for many months while she appeals her conviction and sentence. Please pray for Sarah and her family in their hour of need.

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