February 24, 2003

Missouri Family Allowed to Continue Homeschooling

In a case that has wound its way through Missouri juvenile court to the Missouri Supreme Court and back, Home School Legal Defense Association has defended the right of the Bryan family to homeschool their special needs son (names changed).

In December 1999, St. Louis County Protective Services brought a petition alleging educational neglect of eight-year-old Joshua Bryan. Although HSLDA fought the court's attempt to assume jurisdiction over Joshua, the Missouri courts determined that because the family had failed to document 1000 hours of instruction for 1998-99, he was a "neglected" child.

For the 2001-02 school year, Mr. and Mrs. Bryan were forced to enroll Joshua in a special public school for special education students. Unhappy with his lack of progress, they decided to homeschool him again. In August 2002, HSLDA presented the court with evidence, including a report from a special education psychologist, that the Bryans could successfully meet Joshua's needs through a homeschooling program. Over the objections of the prosecutor and the guardian ad litem, the court agreed that homeschooling was in Joshua's best interest.

At a review hearing February 11, 2003, HSLDA and the Bryan family showed that the homeschooling program was working and that Joshua was making good progress. In spite of this, the prosecutor called the decision to allow him to homeschool "a travesty" and argued to the court that the family could not be trusted to do what was best for their son. HSLDA, however, successfully defended the family's right to continue homeschooling.

Another review hearing is scheduled for August 19, 2003, to determine if the court still needs to retain jurisdiction over Joshua. Please keep the Bryan family in your prayers as they seek to give their son the best education possible.

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