I recently traveled to attend a Juvenile and Domestic Relations Court hearing so I could protect the parents’ right to choose their teen’s form of education.

A Virginia member’s teen had gotten crosswise with the law and ended up on court-supervised probation. The teen subsequently did something that clearly violated the probation rules and the probation officer set up a court hearing to make the teen answer to the court.

Relying on what a school official had told him, the probation officer also claimed the parents could only continue to homeschool the teen if the probation officer approved their curriculum and the parents submitted monthly progress reports. The probation officer’s demand was in error and the parents declined.  

The probation officer then threatened to tell the judge that their refusal should be treated as an additional violation of the probation rules.

The probation rule in question says the child must “…attend school as required by law (Code of VA 22.1-254).” Home instruction is included in that section of code as a way to comply (along with public and private school attendance), so a person following the home instruction requirements is by that fact itself “attending school as required by law.” There was no rule violation!

But with a court date scheduled, the family asked us for help.

The probation officer and I had a helpful, detailed conversation about Virginia homeschool law prior to the hearing. When the issue came up in court, I was able to address the issue with the judge and the school-related issues resolved quickly.