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October 29, 2008

School District Tells Mother She “Has No Say” in Her Son’s Education

Some school officials just don’t get it.

Due to difficult family circumstances, a Texas mother withdrew her son from public school and sent him to live with his grandparents in New Mexico to be homeschooled. Following proper procedure, the mother notified the school that her son was being withdrawn.

Not wanting to do anything wrong, the mother also continued communication with the school to ensure that she was fulfilling all requirements she thought existed. However, it was the school district that was wrong!

The superintendent’s secretary told the new homeschool mom that the superintendent would be the one to decide how her son was educated and that he would not “approve” homeschooling until he had met with the mother and seen the curriculum. Furthermore, the secretary stated that the mother “has no say” in her child’s education and that she was expected to continue sending him to public school unless she had the superintendent’s approval to teach him at home.

Unaware that she has the right to make educational decisions for her son, the mother fearfully prepared to comply.

Fortunately, she decided to contact HSLDA for advice. Senior Counsel Chris Klicka and his legal assistant explained that not only does the mother have the right to decide how her son is educated, but the Texas superintendent no longer has authority over the teenager because he no longer resides in the state! They explained that furthermore, even if her son had remained in Texas, the law does not require her to obtain approval to homeschool there.

Klicka wrote a letter to the superintendent explaining Texas law and included a summary of U.S. Supreme Court Decisions upholding a parent's right to direct her child's education and upbringing (See Decisions of the United States Supreme Court Upholding Parental Rights as “Fundamental”. He also warned the superintendent against contacting the mother about her son’s school attendance.

The family has not heard back from the district and the teenager is now happily being homeschooled in New Mexico.