Powered By Christian Gifts

Friday, March 7, 2008

From: OneNewsNow.com

FYI, we home school our youngest, who is a high school senior and has been accepted to the one university she wants to attend. Cyber Pastor

Home schooling unlawful, says California court

Allie Martin and Jody Brown
3/6/2008 10:20:00 AM

A three-judge panel of the California Court of Appeal has determined parents in that state have no legal right to home school. A Christian attorney in Sacramento says unless the ruling is reversed, literally thousands of students in the Golden State will be subject to criminal sanctions. (click here for special webcast on this issue)

California Justice H. Walter Croskey has stated in an opinion that "parents who fail to [comply with school enrollment laws] may be subject to a criminal complaint against them, found guilty of an infraction, and subject to imposition of fines or an order to complete a parent education and counseling program." The opinion was issued in the case of one family who enrolled their daughter in Sunland Christian School, a private home-schooling program based in Sylmar.

The ruling reverses an earlier opinion from a Superior Court that found that "parents have a constitutional right to school their children in their own home." But in his reversal, Croskey refers to the "ruse of enrolling [children] in a private school and then letting them stay home and be taught by a non-credentialed parent."

Brad Dacus, president of the Sacramento-based Pacific Justice Institute, calls the scope of the decision "breathtaking."

"It not only attacks traditional home schooling, but also calls into question home schooling through charter schools and teaching children at home via independent study through public and private schools," he explains.

According to Dacus, the ruling goes against prior court decisions. "Case law in federal court and by the U.S. Supreme Court [has] already recognized that parents have a fundamental right over the education of their children," he points out. "And in fact, the lower-court judge in this decision ... actually ruled that these parents had a constitutional right to home school their children. But it was reversed by this three-judge panel in this appellate court."

Dacus says an appeal has already been filed by his firm on the school's behalf. "We're going to try to have this decision non-published and specifically tabled until a final determination by the State Supreme Court," he says. And if the decision is not reversed, says the attorney, "more than 166,000 students currently receiving an education at home will be subject to criminal sanctions."

For the time being, the decision affects four counties in the Los Angeles metro area. Sunland Christian School, says the Pacific Justice Institute, has been in full compliance with the requirements of California law for more than 20 years.