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October 25, 2006

Homeschool Father: ‘I Thought I Would Go to Jail!’

After a year attending public school while living with his grandmother in New Mexico, Justin returned to his family in Texas. His father looked into the different education options and decided that homeschooling would be the best for his son.

The Burns started homeschooling and all was going well. A month into their first school year the family needed to have Justin’s records, so Mr. Burns requested them from the public school Justin had attended in New Mexico. After receiving the records, the Burns also received notice that Justin was considered truant and that he must be enrolled into school immediately. The Burns called the New Mexico public school officials and told them that Justin had moved to Texas and New Mexico had no jurisdiction over him.

However, this did not deter the New Mexico school officials; they continued to harass the Burns, making such threatening phone calls that Mr. Burns believed he would be taken to jail! The school official was determined: the Burns must have Justin’s new school request Justin’s records from the New Mexico school today—“or else!” Mr. Burns, fearing what the New Mexico officials would do, called the Home School Legal Defense Association and asked for help.

Senior Counsel Christopher Klicka immediately called the school official in New Mexico. The school official was nervous while talking with Klicka and immediately backed down from her previous threats. She reasoned that the call from Klicka would be sufficient evidence that Justin was being educated.

HSLDA then called the Burns family back to let them know that the situation was resolved. Mr. Burns was amazed that everything was taken care of so quickly and relieved that he would not be arrested that night. Mr. Burns exclaimed, “You guys are incredible!”