May 29, 2001

Texas: Child Released from Juvenile Detention

A few weeks ago, Home School Legal Defense Association received an emergency call from a distraught mother. Her 11-year-old son's health needs had created tension with the local public school. Because of severe migraine headaches, the 11-year-old had 52 absent days from the public school. The headaches would frequently force him to go home early before school let out for the day. However, the young man was a good student, and, even in the face of this hardship, maintained an "A" average.

On one particular day, however, his teacher refused to let him go home. The boy's pain was so intense that he pushed his teacher aside in a desperate attempt to leave the room. He was then arrested for assault and placed in juvenile detention.

HSLDA counseled the mother to help her get her son released from juvenile detention so she could home school him. On May 22, when HSLDA appeared in court on behalf of the family, the 11-year-old son was brought into the courtroom in leg cuffs. Even though the child had already been traumatized by the incarceration, the district attorney said he was keeping the boy in juvenile detention until July 9. HSLDA, however, persuaded both the district attorney and the judge that the best thing for this child was not to remain in juvenile detention, but to be released to his mother where he could continue his schooling at home.

The judge decided in favor of the family and released the boy. The mother is now home schooling her son in a protected environment, thereby meeting both his academic and his health needs.