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February 7, 2003

Michigan Father Arrested for Homeschooling

In the third week of October, the Stutzman family pulled their child out of public school. When they were later visited by a teacher they explained that they had decided to homeschool, pursuant to the Michigan law. Michigan, of course, allows homeschooling if a parent simply teaches certain subjects at home with an organized curriculum. There is no requirement for notification or curriculum approval. Within the next month, the family received another letter indicating they needed to put their children in public school. A truant officer came to visit and once again the family explained that they were homeschooling.

Nonetheless, on the day after Christmas, Mr. Stutzman was arrested, fingerprinted and had a picture taken for his "crime" of homeschooling. Fortunately, he was able to make bail. On January 23, a hearing was set. Home School Legal Defense Association secured attorney Dave Kallman to represent Mr. Stutzman at the hearing. There was a discovery that the prosecutor was not even familiar with the law and thought that Mr. Stutzman had to be a certified teacher. Before Mr. Stutzman even had to appear before the judge, David Kallman was able to convince the prosecutor to withdraw the charges.

Commenting on the experience, Mr. Stutzman said, "I was treated like a common criminal and even had my name in the papers," causing great consternation to his relatives that he was engaging in some illegal activity by homeschooling.

We are thankful that this situation was resolved favorably and will continue to defend member families in Michigan.