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March 21, 2017

Far from being illiterate, this child showed she is a good reader.

School Official Falsely Labels Child Illiterate


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HSLDA litigation attorney

A homeschooling mom in Kentucky was ordered by a judge to put her 5th-grade daughter in school after being accused of failing to teach the girl to read or write. As an independent expert later confirmed, that accusation was patently false.

The mother, Vanessa, had homeschooled her daughter from the beginning. However, when she moved to a different county last summer, she enrolled her daughter in a private school for a short time. Realizing that homeschooling was a better option for her daughter, Vanessa withdrew her around Christmas 2016.

The private school then contacted the local director of pupil personnel (DPP), who called Vanessa at night and told her that she needed to file her notice of intent immediately. But the very next day, the DPP filed charges in court, accusing her of neglecting her daughter’s education. He claimed that the daughter had only attended school 20 days in her entire life and that she could not say or write the alphabet.

Ignoring the Evidence

At the initial hearing, the judge refused to look at the child’s test scores from an independent agency that showed she was working at grade level in both math and English. He ordered Vanessa to enroll her daughter in school immediately and scheduled a trial for six weeks later.

Distraught, Vanessa contacted Home School Legal Defense Association for assistance. We hired an independent consultant to evaluate the daughter and her homeschool program.

The consultant stated in his report that the daughter was working above her capacity and that he had “no idea why someone at the school would have said that the girl didn't know the alphabet. She’s a good reader (with very good phonetic skills).” In an email to HSLDA, he said, “The mom does a great job!”

Once the evaluation was given to the prosecutor (who had been homeschooled herself), the case was quickly dismissed and the judge confirmed that Vanessa could go back to homeschooling immediately.

Vanessa emailed us: “You all did an amazingly fabulous job!  I could not be happier. My daughter could not be happier! This is the outcome I was so hoping for, but was terrified to hope for because I had not had to ever deal with the courts in this kind of capacity before—because I had never been in ‘trouble’ before!”

That’s the kind of outcome we like, too!

Click here to support HSLDA’s work on behalf of families like Vanessa all over the country.