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October 7, 2005

Defending a Family’s Right to Privacy at the Eighth Circuit Court of Appeals

On Monday, October 10, 2005, James R. Mason, III, Litigation Counsel for Home School Legal Defense Association, defended a homeschooling family's right to family privacy at the Eighth Circuit Court of Appeals in Kansas City, Missouri.

The oral argument was before a three judge panel which included the Chief Judge of the Eighth Circuit, James B. Loken and two recently appointed judges from Missouri, Judge Raymond W. Gruender (formerly U.S. Attorney in St. Louis) and Judge William Duane Benton (formerly the Chief Justice on the Missouri Supreme Court). The Court took the matter under advisement and we expect a decision in 3 to 6 months.

As reported in the January/February 2005 Court Report, HSLDA has been defending the Fitzgerald family's right to privacy for almost three years. The Fitzgeralds had withdrawn their son, Sean*, from public school after years of disagreement with the school over the provision of special education services. When they started homeschooling Sean, they had his special needs privately evaluated, and they decided to obtain private special education services for him.

The school district, however, demanded that the parents permit a public school evaluation for special needs, even though it admitted that it could not force the family to accept any actual services from the public school. The case is now under advisement by the Eighth Circuit Court of Appeals, where HSLDA is arguing that the school district and the trial court have misinterpreted the federal special education law by ordering them to submit to a public-school evaluation for services they don't want and cannot be forced to accept. No evaluation has occurred yet.

Please pray that God will protect the family's right to privately homeschool their son.

*name changed to protect privacy

 Other Resources

Camdenton R-III School District v. Mr. and Mrs. F