November 26, 2012

On the Case:

Truancy Proceedings Dropped

Staff Attorney Darren Jones is a member of HSLDA’s litigation team, which helps homeschool families who are facing legal challenges. He and his wife homeschool.

This fall the Lescano family (names changed to protect privacy) faced a hearing when the local school district failed to process their homeschooled son’s withdrawal paperwork correctly.

Doug and Joanne Lescano had homeschooled as members with HSLDA for many years before enrolling their son Jeremy in a California charter school last year. In August, they decided to withdraw their son from the charter school to homeschool again. They enrolled in Dikaios Christian Academy, a private “umbrella” school for homeschool families in San Bernardino County and one of the legal options for homeschooling in California.

At the end of September, without any prior warning, the Lescanos received a summons for a hearing at the San Bernardino School Attendance Review Board (SARB) to discuss Jeremy’s alleged truancy. The SARB is the beginning of a truancy process that is a first step required before filing a complaint in court. Although they had notified the charter school of Jeremy’s withdrawal twice, the school had never processed the withdrawal. The Lescanos immediately contacted Home School Legal Defense Association.

HSLDA Litigation Attorney Darren Jones directly responded to the attendance officer with a request to cancel the SARB hearing. Jones argued that the purpose of a SARB hearing is to address public school students who are habitually truant, not students who are legally homeschooling. Furthermore, according to California’s Education Code, a homeschool student enrolled in a legal private school cannot be compelled to attend a SARB hearing. HSLDA’s local counsel Rex Lowe also communicated with the attendance officer and prepared to represent the family at the hearing. Through the efforts of attorneys Jones and Lowe, the hearing was canceled and the Lescanos were not required to appear.

This is not the first time a legitimately homeschooling family was summoned to a SARB hearing in San Bernardino County, California. HSLDA represented another family at a SARB hearing this past May.

While we hope your family never faces a legal challenge to your homeschool program, HSLDA’s attorneys are here to provide you the support you need to homeschool with confidence. If you know a homeschool family who are not members of HSLDA, perhaps you’ll consider sending this story to them with an encouragement to join the community, to protect their family, and to support homeschoolers across the nation.

 Other Resources

“HSLDA Responds to SARB Hearing”