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CA Appeals Court Urged to Protect Rights of Homeschooling Families

 

Currently, we are leading a diverse team of organizations to urge the California Court of Appeals to protect the rights of homeschooling families in the Golden State.  The appeals court has agreed to rehear a case regarding Rachel L.  In February, the court issued a decision that, if implemented, would deny nearly all California parents the right to homeschool their children.  In the decision (which has now been vacated), the court specifically found that Californias compulsory attendance law permits parental home education only if the parent is qualified as a private tutor (which requires that he or she undergo a rigorous and time-consuming process to obtain a valid state teaching credential for every grade to be taught at home).

 

For the past 20 years, homeschooling children have been exempt from compulsory public school attendance under the California Department of Education (CDOE)s provisions for students enrolled in a private school.  An exemption is also granted to students being taught by a state-licensed tutor.

 

We at the American Center for Law and Justice, along with Western Center for Law & Policy, American Civil Rights Union, Christian Leaders, and Jewish Homeschoolers of Napa and Sonoma Counties, have filed an amicus brief in the case.  The brief argues that the right of parents to homeschool their children is derived from both the Free Speech and Free Exercise Clauses of the First Amendment.  As such, the California Court of Appeals must find that the California compulsory attendance law permits home education under both the private school and private tutor exemptions.  If the court finds that it does not, then the law must be struck down as unconstitutional for violating parents First Amendment rights.

 

Parents have a right to protect their children from forced government indoctrination, said Jacqueline Michelle Schaffer, an attorney with the ACLJ.  They also have a right to direct the religious upbringing and education of their children.  The First Amendment of the United States Constitution guarantees these rights to every American.

 

We will keep you updated on this case as it progresses.

 

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