March 12, 2003

Farris to Argue Before Vermont Supreme Court

Home School Legal Defense Association General Counsel, Michael Farris, will be defending Vermont homeschoolers from over-regulation by the Department of Education (VDE) before the Supreme Court of Vermont. Oral arguments regarding In re S.M are scheduled for 10:00 AM on March 13, 2003, at the Vermont Law School in South Royalton, Vermont.

The issue in this appeal is whether the State of Vermont may require more information on its forms than the Vermont homeschooling statute requires. The statute requires the submission of "independent professional evidence on whether the child is handicapped."

Instead of allowing the parents to merely certify through a professional of their choice that their child is not handicapped, the State has insisted that parents must also submit information on the professional's method of screening and recommendations for further screening. This effectively converts a "notice" statute into one giving the VDE approval authority based on its own interpretation of the "independent professional evidence."

HSLDA is calling on the Vermont Supreme Court to stop the bureaucratic creep toward more invasive regulation of homeschooling through the use of broadly worded state forms. The Legislature entrusted the evaluation of children for potential handicaps to Vermont professionals. It did not intend to allow VDE bureaucrats to substitute their judgment for those of teachers and doctors chosen by the parents.

This case has been specially selected by the Supreme Court to be presented at its annual oral arguments at Vermont Law School, in Royalton, Vermont. The briefs in this case will be printed and distributed to all the law students at Vermont Law School. The oral arguments will be open to the public. We encourage you to attend and to bring other homeschoolers with you.