School Official Targets Special Needs Homeschool
by Darren Jones • June 18, 2019
After becoming her granddaughters’ legal guardian, a Washington grandmother immersed herself in finding the best way to care for her girls.
Both granddaughters require intensive special education assistance. Unfortunately, the grandmother did not find much assistance through the public school the girls attended. After a traumatic event at school, the granddaughters were given two weeks of excused absence to recover.
While they were at home during this absence, their grandmother considered homeschooling them to best meet their needs. Shortly after the excused absence, when the girls returned to school, she filed a declaration of intent to homeschool.
Providing the Best
The grandmother took it upon herself to provide the best program she could for her girls. She employed counselors, tutors, and therapists to ensure her granddaughters were cared for academically and mentally, and she kept extensive records of homework completed and emails between herself and the local public school superintendent about her granddaughters’ needs.
But a school official learned that the grandmother intended to homeschool and ordered staff to change the girls’ “excused absences” to “unexcused.” The district then filed a truancy petition with the juvenile court.
Notably, their petition was filed several days late according to the deadlines determined by the state of Washington, while the grandmother’s withdrawal and declaration of intent was delivered in the appropriate time range.
When the grandmother appeared in court, the school repeated the allegation that she was homeschooling just to avoid truancy.
That is when she found and contacted HSLDA.
Victory in Court
We brought in our local counsel, Ron Richmond, also a homeschool graduate, to assist the grandmother in protecting her family.
During the first hearing with Richmond, court personnel mistakenly stated it was not possible in Washington to homeschool students with special needs. HSLDA and Richmond filed a motion to dismiss to the court, pointing out that the grandmother had done nothing illegal, and explaining that every state allows special education homeschooling for students. The court quickly dismissed the truancy action.
The grandmother wrote us later, praising Richmond’s assistance (and his sense of humor!) and thanking us for the help.
It was Home School Legal Defense Association’s privilege to help this grandmother fight—and succeed—against unforeseen obstacles. HSLDA is honored to help parents and legal guardians who serve their children’s well-being in their academics and personal development. Please partner with us today to protect children!