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View Full Version : Worrisome legal case in New Hampshire..



Shoe
05-19-2010, 04:59 PM
I ran across this article about a case up before the New Hampshire Supreme Court. The trial court apparently feels that adolescents shouldn't be homeschooled even if they are doing well academically and socially. The article is here (http://www.hslda.org/hs/state/nh/201005190.asp) (not specifically secular, but the court ruling would seem to apply to all homeschooled adolescents).


In a case that has made headlines across the country, a trial court ordered a homeschooled girl into public school based in large part on non-expert testimony of the guardian ad litem (GAL) assigned to the case. The GALís testimony implied that homeschooling could not meet the future social and academic needs of all adolescents, not only the child in this caseóeven though the court acknowledged that she was excelling both academically and socially while being homeschooled.

Worrisome. I'll be watching the outcome of this closely. New Hampshire homeschoolers have recently been successful in fighting legislative challenges. Now we have to win in the courts too.

Wilma
05-19-2010, 05:11 PM
Disturbing. It seems that all the arguments against homeschooling have been thrown out the window and it just doesn't matter. If they don't like homeschooling, it won't happen, so there.

Shoe
05-19-2010, 05:18 PM
New Hampshire has a very vocal homeschooling community, but there are some pretty strong opponents to homeschooling in the legislature. Let's hope the State Supreme Court looks at the evidence and overturns this outrageous ruling by the lower court. A ruling in favor of the trial court's decision would be bad for New Hampshire and potentially affect our family personally, but I fear that it might then also be able to be used as precedent for other states...or maybe I'm just being alarmist. But I don't like how the court and guardian ad litem simply ignored all the studies supportive of homeschooling both socially and academically in their decision.

Snoopy
05-19-2010, 06:01 PM
It would sure help if we had a secular homeschool organization that could join the religious organizations on the brief because watch this being judged in the court of public opinion as a "fundie" and religious education rights issue. Ugh.

It's sad that courts can make this type of decision that will affect EVERYONE's right to homeschool if they want to, while in fact they should just rule in in custody matters. This is a case where clearly this is being used by one parent to punish the other parent instead of truly keeping the best interests of the child at heart, which would be a harmonious divorce and civility between both parties. I know. I had a very harmonious divorce from my 1st husband but my husband and I have been going through HELL with his ex-wife regarding his 2 daughters (at her insistance) - GAL involved, the judge ended up giving DH custody even though he had only asked for visitation, cue 6 years of accusations of child abuse both from the ex and the daughters who were brainwashed by the mother. Our situation didn't involve homeschooling but she sure brought up how "awful" the schools in our area were (schools at which they've been doing quite well, I might add), etc.

Teri
05-19-2010, 06:48 PM
I remember when then case was first decided. The HSLDA doesn't really give all of the information.
The concern that the Ad Litem (and the father) had were that the girls views were becoming extremely narrow and rigid, reflecting her mother's religious views.
http://www.washingtontimes.com/news/2009/sep/04/home-schooled-christian-girl-ordered-to-join-publi/?page=2

It's still a sticky situation. The father was opposed to her continued homeschooling because he felt like the child was not getting a broad enough view of the world.

Wilma
05-19-2010, 06:49 PM
In the accreditation post I mentioned that we should do the bare minimum the law requires. I am one of the ones that feels very strongly that public schools and homeschooling should not mix. I fear the slippery slope of incrementalism and our rights will slowly erode.

We basically have no laws here in OK. Homeschooling is a constitutional right here. I think the wording is something like"parents shall have the right to determine their children's education." The school districts leave us alone for the most part, but I keep waiting for someone to put up a constitutional challenge. We had/have a state secular group here but it pretty much died a natural death.

Shoe
05-19-2010, 07:04 PM
In the accreditation post I mentioned that we should do the bare minimum the law requires. I am one of the ones that feels very strongly that public schools and homeschooling should not mix. I fear the slippery slope of incrementalism and our rights will slowly erode.That makes a lot of sense, Ann. The New Hampshire Homeschooling Coalition feels the same way and encourages its members to do only the minimum, even if it doesn't seem overly burdensome to respond to requests from school boards, etc. for more, as it may impact negatively on other homeschoolers.

There was a bill introduced in the NH General Court that said something like what your state constitution does, but it hasn't passed yet. I don't know if it died in committee or if it is still being considered.

As far as mixing homeschool and public school, we are entitled to let our kids take some classes and participate in extracurricular activities here in NH. It seems to me to defeat the purpose of home education though, so, except for allowing my kids to go to the school dances, we have not taken advantage of that at all.



I remember when then case was first decided. The HSLDA doesn't really give all of the information.
The concern that the Ad Litem (and the father) had were that the girls views were becoming extremely narrow and rigid, reflecting her mother's religious views.
http://www.washingtontimes.com/news/2009/sep/04/home-schooled-christian-girl-ordered-to-join-publi/?page=2

It's still a sticky situation. The father was opposed to her continued homeschooling because he felt like the child was not getting a broad enough view of the world.
Teri, I don't know enough of the details of the case to know if the court made the right decision in sending the child back to public school...what concerns me is that the court seems to have taken the view that homeschooling in general (not just for this specific case) is harmful for adolescents and can't meet all current and future needs (like the public schools are doing so much better jobs at that!) even when the student is excelling academically and socially (agreed by the court in this case).

EDIT: Just read the link you posted-yeah, the case is more complicated, and this poor kid seems caught in the middle of a big battle between the parents. I can respect the court's need to mediate between the feuding parents, but I'm worried that this type of case may lead to further regulation on homeschooling, even when parents are in agreement.


It would sure help if we had a secular homeschool organization that could join the religious organizations on the brief because watch this being judged in the court of public opinion as a "fundie" and religious education rights issue. Ugh.

It's sad that courts can make this type of decision that will affect EVERYONE's right to homeschool if they want to, while in fact they should just rule in in custody matters. This is a case where clearly this is being used by one parent to punish the other parent instead of truly keeping the best interests of the child at heart, which would be a harmonious divorce and civility between both parties. I know. I had a very harmonious divorce from my 1st husband but my husband and I have been going through HELL with his ex-wife regarding his 2 daughters (at her insistance) - GAL involved, the judge ended up giving DH custody even though he had only asked for visitation, cue 6 years of accusations of child abuse both from the ex and the daughters who were brainwashed by the mother. Our situation didn't involve homeschooling but she sure brought up how "awful" the schools in our area were (schools at which they've been doing quite well, I might add), etc.
I pretty much agree with almost all you said. Sorry you're having a rough time with your husband's ex. I've never had to go through that kind of situation, but I can't imagine it would be pleasant. Good luck.

Wilma
05-19-2010, 07:22 PM
The vast majority of the time that a homeschooling family is turned in it is because of a custody battle or a well meaning relative.