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July 9, 2010
S Family v. City of Los Angeles
HSLDA seeks ruling exempting homeschoolers from daytime curfew law.

On June 5, homeschooled teenagers Tom and Abigail Spencer (names changed to protect privacy) took the bus from their home to a local community college to sign up for classes. As they walked from the bus stop to the entrance of the college, a Los Angeles Police Department officer drove up and asked them what they were doing. Tom explained that they were homeschooled and that their school was not in session that day. He explained that they were using the time to enroll in college classes and pointed to the community college behind him.

The officer nevertheless ordered them into his patrol car and cited them for violating Los Angeles's daytime curfew ordinance. He said they had to obey the ordinance even though they were homeschooled because L.A. public schools were still in session that day. He transported them to a receiving center where other children were being processed that day as part of a planned “truancy sweep.” The Spencer teenagers were held at the center until their mother could pick them up later in the day. Since the Spencers were Home School Legal Defense Association members, they immediately contacted our legal department for assistance.

HSLDA Senior Counsel James R. Mason filed a motion to dismiss the citation, which was granted at Tom and Abigail’s initial court appearance.

HSLDA is now representing the family as they are bringing suit against the City of Los Angeles for unlawful arrest. A complaint seeking damages as well as an order instructing police officers to make sure that their truancy sweeps are limited to public school students was filed on May 21, 2010.

Last Updated: July 9, 2010