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(Non-HSLDA cases are marked with an “ * ”)

January 3 — New York: In December 1994, the Department of Social Services petitioned a Bronx family court to allow entry into the home and a full investigation of an HSLDA member family accused of neglect and abuse by an anonymous tip. The case was put on fast track, and HSLDA attorneys quickly presented a motion to quash the court order. The judge agreed to stay the order for three weeks to allow time for DSS to respond to the motion. When the court reconvened, the Department of Social Services withdrew its petition. New York law was upheld: entry into a private home may not be ordered without evidence of probable cause. And an anonymous tip is not probable cause.

January 20 — Wyoming: At the last minute, House Bill 123, a compulsory education expansion bill, was soundly defeated in committee as a result of a flood of calls from concerned constituents alerted by HSLDA and Home Schoolers of Wyoming.

February — Virginia: After years of persistent opposition by HSLDA, the Fairfax County Public Schools relented on their requirement to have home schooling families submit a “description of curriculum.”

February — Virginia: In the case In re Brianna, the court ruled in favor of parents’ rights to make medical decisions for their children and honored the religious exemptions from immunizations allowed by Virginia law. HSLDA defended this family who were charged with child neglect because they chose not to immunize their children.

February 3 — Georgia: Debbie Gaskin was arrested and jailed for contributing to truancy after she decided to home school her daughter, in full compliance with the law, following her daughter’s absence from public school due to a sprained ankle. Mrs. Gaskin was released on $500 bond, and HSLDA immediately and successfully worked to have the truancy charges dismissed.

Debbie Gaskin - Febuary 3

February 12-18 — Virginia: Governor George Allen proclaimed “Virginia Home Education Week.”

February 24 — California: HSLDA filed a civil rights lawsuit on behalf of the Calabretta family against a social worker and police officer. On November 10, 1994, these officials, investigating anonymous child abuse allegations, forced entry into the family’s home, interrogated a 12-year-old daughter, and strip searched a three-year-old, violating their Fourth Amendment rights against unreasonable searches and seizures. The allegations were found to be false.

March — Utah: The legal status of home schoolers was greatly improved by a new child neglect law which clarifies the standard for prosecuting home school families for educational neglect.

March — Arkansas: The Arkansas Senate Education Committee voted 4 to 2 to kill Senate Bill 583. This bill would have required home school students to take and pass the high school exit examination based on public school curriculum.

April 3 — Texas: The U.S. Air Force established a two-percent policy—two of every 100 enlisted positions are now reserved for home school applicants.

April 13 — Arizona: The legislature passed Senate Bill 1348, making Arizona the first state in the country to completely remove a home school testing requirement. S.B. 1348 also allowed home schoolers to participate in interscholastic competition at public schools.

May 16 — Nebraska: In a precedent-setting opinion, a Nebraska hearing officer ruled that although Congress requires each state to offer free special needs services, the states are not empowered to make enrollment in these services mandatory. All children, even those with special needs, enrolled in a bona fide home school program in compliance with Nebraska law are exempt from public school attendance.

May — California: Three cases, one in San Diego and two in the Chowchilla School District, were won in juvenile courts by HSLDA. The families were accused of truancy by local public school officials, but were cleared when HSLDA presented proof of their validity and compliance with the private school statue in the California education code.

July 24 — California: In the Calabretta case, a California federal district court judge denied the police and social worker’s motion to dismiss, indicating that he was aware of no binding precedent which excludes child welfare investigators from Fourth Amendment Law.

August 11 — Georgia: HSLDA filed a civil rights lawsuit on behalf of Debbie Gaskin against the district superintendent and attendance officer for violation of her right to direct the education of her daughter.

August 28 — South Carolina: After speaking with HSLDA attorneys, the Jasper County Board of Education reversed an earlier decision to deny approval to six home schooling families without teacher qualifications.

November 9 — Vermont: Ken and Sheree Hadley of Granitville were granted the right to home school under the religious exemption statue after extensive negotiations between the Vermont Department of Education and HSLDA.

November 22 — California: HSLDA filed a lawsuit on behalf of Robert and Maria Kennedy against two Covina, California, police officers and a social worker. The Kennedy family’s Fourth Amendment rights were violated in August when these officials forced entry into the Kennedy’s home and questioned and searched the children as part of an investigation of child abuse allegations, which were unfounded. The lawsuit sought compensation for the emotional injuries suffered by the Kennedys, as well as a declaration from the court that warrantless entry into homes by social workers or police, in non-emergency situations, is a violation of the U.S. Constitution.

November — Washington, DC: Nineteen-year-old Makala Racobs was denied entrance into the Navy because she is a home school graduate. After HSLDA filed Makala D. Racobs v. William Perry, Secretary of Defense, the Navy agreed to an out-of-court settlement, offering Makala an opportunity to be reexamined for admission and setting up an experimental attrition rate study for home schoolers.

December 15 — Newfoundland: The Supreme Court of Canada found that Charles and Sandra Butler have the right to home school under section 7 of the Canadian Charter and reunited them with their three children. Child welfare officials had placed the Butlers’ children into foster care after the Butlers refused a court order to enroll their children in public school. HSLDA of Canada helped the family appeal this court order to the Supreme Court of Newfoundland.

Now read about the year 1996.