Unless you’ve been homeschooling under a rock, you know that the Superior Court of California issued a ruling regarding one homeschool family. The wording of the ruling essentially declares homeschooling illegal. Now, it seems, that the whole homeschooling world is up in arms, ready to storm Capital Hill to reverse this great injustice. Just like in a game of telephone, though, as the story is retold again and again, the facts are getting more and more distorted. This is my attempt to answer some questions as I understand them.
Why is the court ruling on homeschooling when this is an abuse case?
By now, we’re all aware that the Long’s (the defendants in this case)have been accused of abuse by their children. That’s how this whole mess started. However, this particular ruling and this particular court case was NOT about abuse, but rather homeschooling. The initial case that led the Long’s to court was regarding abuse allegations. That has already (to my understanding) been ruled on and/or dealt with. However, one of the lawyers for the children felt that homeschooling was not serving their client’s (the child’s) best interest and petitioned the court to force the family to stop. So this particular case, that yielded this particular ruling was about homeschooling and that is why it doesn’t address the alleged abuse, but instead addresses homeschoolng.
Are homeschoolers in California in immediate danger?
I do think the ruling should be taken seriously and I think that if it’s left unchecked, it could potentially start a slippery slope downwards towards homeschooling becoming illegal. But let’s all take a deep breath and relax and look at the facts. To my knowledge, there is no boogey man that works for the Child Protective Services, seeking to take children away from homeschooling families in one sudden, fell swoop. Any action that might proceed from this ruling will take a long time to prosecute. . .it’s not instantaneous. In other words, should families begin to be prosecuted (and I kind of doubt that would happen if they are incompliance with state law) it will be a long process during which time I’m sure there will be many, many protests. I’m not saying that we shouldn’t sit up and pay attention, but we need to not panic. Websites for major California homeschooling organizations are encouraging families NOT to write to legislators, storm capital hill or anything else.
Let’s storm the gates of the Supreme Court!!!
No. . .let’s not. We really don’t want for the Supreme Court to hear this case. I could get into more complicated legalese but the long and short of it is. . .if they don’t hear your case, the ruling stands. If they hear your case and set a precedent that is not in your favor–not only does the ruling stand but it will affect everyone else. Likewise, we really don’t want to go the legislative route on the basis of this case either as it’s not likely to turn out in homeschoolers’ favor. What we want rather, is for the California Supreme Court to “depublish” the ruling. This is essentially a way of saying that this ruling may well apply to this particular set of facts and this particular family but should not become a law that affects all families.
Valorie Delp shares recipes and kitchen tips in the food blog, solves breastfeeding problems, shares parenting tips, and current research in the baby blog, and insight, resources and ideas as a regular guest blogger in the homeschooling blog. To read more articles by Valorie Delp, click here.