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May 8, 2001

California: HSLDA Represents Mom in Hearing

Mrs. B withdrew her son from public school and filed her affidavit as a private school in accordance with California law. However, she is now being threatened with substantial monetary loss due to her exercise of her constitutional right to home school.

Ventura County has reduced the amount of Mrs. B's Aid to Families with Dependent Children (AFDC), saying that her son is not enrolled "in school," even though she is in compliance with the private school law of California. The county apparently is taking the current position of the California Department of Education: parents teaching their children at home must be California certified teachers. Because HSLDA believes that home schoolers should not be punished by the government for exercising their constitutional right to home school, and because a bad decision in this case could affect home schoolers throughout the state, attorneys Mike Smith and David Gordon represented Mrs. B at the administrative hearing to appealing the reduction in her benefits.

At the hearing, the administrative law judge was interested in learning about the school district's home school policy. Although county public school officials had concluded that home education through the private school exemption was illegal, a welfare official on the Ventura County School Attendance Review Board testified that local schools were too busy to prosecute home educators and prosecutors were simply not interested.

HSLDA was able to demonstrate to the hearing officer that Mrs. B's school was in compliance with all of the private school requirements. The officer took the matter under consideration and will issue a written opinion. As soon as we receive her official opinion, we will report it on our website.

 Other Resources

California Single Mother Wins Civil Rights Case

Ventura County Dept. of Human Services v. Mrs. B