April 23, 2001

Unfavorable Ruling for Home School Families with Special Education Students

Although the United States Supreme Court denied a hearing to overturn an adverse ruling from the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals, HSLDA is continuing to argue for access to special education related services in several other cases.

In 1998, HSLDA filed a federal lawsuit when a school district refused to provide special education related services to the Hooks, a home schooling family. Both the district court and the Court of Appeals held that home school students in Nevada are not entitled to such services.

The courts held that since Nevada home schools are not viewed as private schools, the state could legally withhold special education services from home schooled students.

HSLDA appealed this decision to the Supreme Court, but the appeal was denied April 16, 2001.

However, HSLDA is still pursuing this issue in two other cases. In New Jersey, we successfully obtained services for the Forstrom family, although the school district has appealed that ruling. Also, in Arizona, we recently filed a lawsuit against the Scottsdale Public Schools who had denied services to two visually impaired home school children.

HSLDA is not representing families who desire special education at the public schools. Special education refers to remedial instruction in academic areas. Some of our members, however, cannot afford to purchase related services such as speech therapy, occupational therapy, or physical therapy, and desire to receive those services from the school district. (Whenever possible, HSLDA encourages families to avoid government services and obtain private services. But sometimes, because of financial or other reasons, this is not possible-- and that's where we step in.) Since we believe it was the intent of Congress and some state legislatures to include home schoolers in these services, and because we believe it is discriminatory to provide these same services to traditional private schoolers, but not to home schoolers, we are fighting for these families.

For more information, visit our website:

Hooks v. Clark County School District

Forstrom v. Fair Lawn School District

Erasing the Barriers for Children with Special Learning Needs