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North Carolina
North Carolina

May 3, 2016

Inflexible School Shocked to Learn this Homeschooled Child is Thriving


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Note: The names used in this article are real. In the video above, which is based on this article, the family members’ names have been changed.

Mr. and Mrs. Kupper disagreed with public school officials over the best form of education for their son with severe special needs. After a semester in the public school system, the Kuppers saw firsthand an increase in anxiety caused by public school attendance and disruption to their son’s regular appointments with his counselor. The school was demanding that he skip certain appointments scheduled during school hours, which was damaging according to his professional therapist and the Kuppers’ observation.

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Thus, the Kuppers decided to educate him at home. They were already homeschooling two older children who were doing quite well, and they thought the flexibility of homeschooling would help their son excel.

“Not so fast.”

School officials did not like the Kuppers’ decision to homeschool their son. They believed this 9-year-old would be better served in public school. And so they contacted the Department of Health and Human Services and argued that the Kuppers could not provide at home the same quality of education taught in public school. What’s more, this report was made just days after the boy was withdrawn from public school, so they had no valid evidence to make this assertion.

Mr. and Mrs. Kupper promptly received a visit from a social worker who came into the home, talked with the children, and requested all kinds of detailed information about the Kuppers’ homeschool curriculum, schedule, and methodology. The Kuppers called the North Carolina Department of Nonpublic Education, confirmed their nonpublic school status, and were told that they met the legal requirements to homeschool. Armed with this information, they contacted the social worker’s supervisor.

“This is where we have a disagreement with the DNPE,” the supervisor said. “We feel we can request additional information to verify the quality of your home education.”

A friend told the Kuppers about HSLDA, and they quickly applied for membership.

Homeschooling Wins the Day

When the social worker showed up at the family’s residence a second time, HSLDA Staff Attorney Dan Beasley told the social worker over the phone that parents—not school officials—have the right to choose the best form of education for their children. He also explained that homeschooling allows parents to custom-tailor instruction to meet each child’s individual needs, and studies show that homeschoolers generally excel academically.

The Kuppers were the wrong family to pick on. Their two older children, who were already being homeschooled, had recently achieved scores in the 99th and 96th percentile on a nationally normed referenced standardized achievement test, which Beasley happily announced to the social worker.

The social worker, to her credit, agreed that the family were within their legal rights. She indicated over the phone that she would respect the Kuppers’ right to choose to homeschool their son.

“These children appear to be thriving,” she said, and told Beasley that she planned to close the investigation.

HSLDA acknowledges that social workers serve an important role in protecting innocent children from abuse and neglect. But we are passionately committed to defending the right of parents to choose the best form of education of their children. Time spent on cases like this would be better spent investigating credible allegations of abuse or neglect.

• • •

HSLDA Social Services Contact Policy

We desire to advise our members in every contact with a social worker and/or police officer in investigations resulting from allegations of abuse or neglect. If homeschooling is an issue, we will represent our member families until the issue is resolved. On Fourth Amendment unreasonable search and seizure issues, HSLDA will advise our members whenever the privacy of their home is violated by forced or coerced entry for the purpose of an unsubstantiated investigation. HSLDA membership benefits do not extend to court actions resulting from non-homeschooling matters. However, in circumstances where there is a clear violation of the Fourth Amendment, HSLDA may, as we have done in the past, choose to take the case in an effort to establish legal precedent.