An appeals court in Rennes, France has affirmed a lower court’s ruling directing local education officials to authorize one family’s request to homeschool.

Hubert Veauvy, a French lawyer and president of the homeschool advocacy group Liberté Education, called the victory an important first.

“For the first time, an administrative court ruled on the merits of a request regarding the denial of authorization for home education,” he wrote. “This decision is in line with all of our arguments and gives us hope that further appeals will be successful. This ruling can be used by other families who are appealing similar denials.”

Battling New Restrictions

Since the 2021 passage of a new education law, many local educational authorities in France have been exercising unreasonable discretion to deny families the right to homeschool.

Under the new law, families who wish to homeschool must specify one of four reasons. Almost 90 percent of families who specified the fourth and most common reason, “the best interest of a child,” have been denied authorization by local authorities, often without any explanation.

Such arbitrary denials go against previous guidance from higher courts. However, just as in the United States, school officials can be unaware of court rulings or unwilling to support homeschooling. And hostility toward homeschooling in France comes from the top, as President Emmanuel Macron has even asked the National Assembly to ban home education.

Many families who would prefer to homeschool are concerned about the risk of involvement from child protective agencies and have enrolled their children in school while continuing to fight for their rights in court.

Important Victory

One such family, represented by Liberté Education, was delighted that their case was accepted by France’s highest court after a loss in the lower courts. Jean-Baptiste Maillard, secretary general of Liberté Education, told me the family’s story:

“The mother shared with me that her son was very sad about not being able to homeschool. She told me her son was very glad to hear that their case was accepted, and the mother told her son that she would never stop fighting for him so that he could homeschool,” he shared. “We are defending very brave and committed families who are so grateful for our support.”

Maillard attributed some of their success to Home School Legal Defense Association’s involvement. “We have no way to adequately express our appreciation for the help we have been receiving from HSLDA. Quite simply, without HSLDA’s help our victories would have been much harder. We have been able to fight with confidence and to obtain the help of highly competent lawyers. Thank you, HSLDA!”