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Home School Legal Defense Association
March 26, 2001

Judge Browning on Home Schooling

During Sarah D's circuit court hearing on March 23, Home School Legal Defense Association attorney David Gordon read the following quote from Judge Sue Carol Browning in the February 13 trial transcript.

Logal County District Court

March 26, 2001

Judge Sue Carol Browning

THE COURT: Okay. Well the Court does find that Sarah has committed the offense of habitual truancy. The next issue we come to is the issue of disposition in this case.

This Court has - I'm a firm believer that home schools have their place. I'm a firm believer that there are certain circumstances in which home schools can be done appropriately, and can be in the best interest of the student.

However, I think a student misses many, many opportunities when placed in a home school as opposed to a public school.

First of all, I have a doctorate degree. And I do not feel that I am capable of giving my child the education that he deserves.

I have not had intensive training in each of the aspects that high schools teach. You know, I don't have specialization in algebra, in chemistry, biology, language arts, all the different things.

I feel like I might be able to teach him adequately like he would want to be taught, perhaps, in language arts and history; but probably not in mathematics, chemistry, biology.

Even though I have a doctorate degree, I don't feel like I would be doing him justice in the vast majority of the areas.

Secondly, and probably most importantly - secondly and probably most importantly, I feel that a public school teaches a child to be responsible, to get up every day, to get dressed appropriately, get ready, and be somewhere on time, and stay there for the day, giving their undivided attention to what's going on for a seven, eight-hour period.

This is something that any young adult will have to achieve in the work force. And it's training that a child cannot get in home school, cannot get. There's no way.

To get up, get ready, go somewhere, be there, sit there and give their undivided attention for a seven and a half, eight-hour day.

Thirdly, and maybe even more importantly than that, a public school teaches a young person to get along with and work with people from all walks of life, from the highest socieoeconomic groups to the lowest socioeconomic groups; from the most intelligent students to the least intelligent students; from Catholics to Jews, to Baptists, to Presbyterians, to Methodists, and on and on - to atheists, and on and on.

Children who go to public schools learn to deal with, work with, play with and associate with people from all walks of life.

And this is something that a person has to have to get along well and do well in this world, unless they're going to be a hermit the rest of their life. And I certainly wouldn't want that for Sarah. I wouldn't want it for my child. I wouldn't want it for Sarah.

Fourth, and this is also very, very important, a public school teaches a child to take direction from various people other than their parents. And a child who is maturing into the work place needs to learn to take direction.

 Other Resources

More information on the Sarah D case