Judge Calls Homeschooling Harmful, Orders Child Back to School
by Trudi Miller, Global Outreach Coordinator • August 20, 2019
The Argentinian constitution contains some impressive language recognizing the freedom of conscience However, as the late Justice Scalia often said, a constitutional guarantee may be just a parchment promise unless the constitution also separates the powers of the government and the people hold their government accountable.
This warning was borne out recently in the way a judge ruled against homeschooling in Argentina. The ruling clearly goes against the letter of the law.
Article 14 of the Argentine Constitution states: “All inhabitants of the nation enjoy the following rights, in accordance with laws that regulate their exercise, namely … of freely practicing their religion; of teaching and learning.” And in Article 19: “The private actions of men that in no way offend public order or morality, nor injure a third party, are reserved only to God, and are exempt from the authority of the magistrates. No inhabitant of the Nation shall be compelled to do what the law does not order or be deprived of what it does not forbid.”
In Salta, Argentina, a judge ordered a homeschooling mother to send her child back to school. Although there is no national law mandating that children attend government schools, the judge refused to acknowledge home education as a legitimate, ruling that home education does not offer instruction equivalent to the school system and is harmful.
To exclude a child from school entails harmful consequences for the present and future of the child, who is a person different from his parents and should not bear the consequence of decisions that are based on personal choices.
The opinion invested no effort into understanding the emerging impact of homeschooling around the world and the research that reveals the benefits of home education.
The court wrote that a child who is homeschooled does not receive an “official diploma,” which makes it impossible for the child to gain employment or college admission. The court also relied on an unfounded presumption that homeschooling negatively affects socialization with peers and cannot guarantee the content and learning a student “needs” to develop into an adult.
This Argentinian judge utterly failed to consider his nation’s international legal obligations. As a signatory of certain protocols, the government must ensure the right of parents to choose the kind of education for their children that is in accordance with their philosophical and religious convictions. Research continues to show that homeschool students excel academically and socially. You can read the full story here.
This case demonstrates the importance of our advocacy work in advancing homeschooling freedom. Any public official who wants to look beyond the constrained borders of their little bureaucracy would be able to see that home education is a growing global movement that delivers an individualized education to children.
Children deserve to have a personalized education whenever possible, and home education delivers on all fronts! We need to continue to reach out to governing authorities at all levels to help them understand that when they rule against homeschooling, they are the ones who are harming children, and they are also harming freedom.
HSLDA is committed to fighting for homeschooling families in Argentina and other countries. We are currently involved in cases all around the world where families’ right to homeschool have been questioned or deemed illegal.