September 17, 2013

On the Case:

HSLDA Prevails in Two Court Cases

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.

In two separate cases, Indiana judges upheld the rights of homeschooling parents.

When an HSLDA member family withdrew their younger daughter from public school to homeschool, the state of Indiana filed criminal charges against them for alleged absences.

The family had submitted their withdrawal paperwork to the public school and was homeschooling in compliance with state law, but the school administrator contacted the prosecutor concerning the daughter’s alleged absences. Since the summons was originally sent to the wrong address, the family found out about the charges from the local newspaper. They immediately contacted HSLDA.

HSLDA represented the members in court. At the initial appearance the family entered a plea of not guilty, and the judge scheduled a trial date for May. Shortly after the initial hearing, the judge closed the case in the family’s favor, without the necessity of a trial.

Investigation Thwarted

In a separate case, an investigator with social services requested a judge to compel a homeschooling family to allow her to interview their children alone.

During the investigation, HSLDA attorney Tj Schmidt mediated on the family’s behalf. Then, when the investigator made a motion in court to interview the children, HSLDA represented the family before the judge arguing in favor of the family’s privacy. Shortly afterwards, the social worker withdrew her motion to interview the children alone and separately.

HSLDA’s support of homeschooling takes various forms, from assisting during an investigation to defending homeschool issues in court. It’s because of our members that we are able to support the homeschool community.

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HSLDA Social Services Contact Policy

We desire to advise our members in every contact with a social worker and/or police officer in investigations resulting from allegations of abuse or neglect. If homeschooling is an issue, we will represent our member families until the issue is resolved. On Fourth Amendment unreasonable search and seizure issues, HSLDA will advise our members whenever the privacy of their home is violated by forced or coerced entry for the purpose of an unsubstantiated investigation. HSLDA membership benefits do not extend to court actions resulting from non-homeschooling matters. However, in circumstances where there is a clear violation of the Fourth Amendment, HSLDA may, as we have done in the past, choose to take the case in an effort to establish legal precedent.