Runaway Teens Request For Assistance Triggers Investigation
On October 29, 2005 the Long’s then 14-year-old daughter ran away from home. Her reasons are shared by many a headstrong teenager who resents the authority of a parent. When she found herself with no place to go, she took it upon herself to contact child welfare workers, in order to secure a place to stay.
Her actions triggered yet another investigation. (This was not the Long families first involvement with CPS caseworkers.) Attorneys were assigned to represent each parent and the two youngest minor children – provided for at state expense. The subsequent court battle resulted in a finding for the parents, who not only kept their children in the home but the lower court had no issue with the children being homeschooled.
Attorney Lori A. Fields, representing the two minor children took issue with the court ruling and decided that homeschooling did not provide an appropriate education for Jonathan and Mary Grace. Fields appealed the ruling to the Second Appellate Court.
It was around this time that Jonathan, wishing to continue homeschooling, requested his attorney be dismissed and replaced. The court refused to honor his request and continued the hearing, without holding the required Marsden hearing. The court reasoned that the attorney, which was provided by the court was charged with acting in the children’s best interest – not necessarily to work on the children’s behalf, according to his wishes.
The court ultimately ruled that they had indeed erred in failing to hold a Marsden hearing but contended that the Marsden hearing was irrelevant and therefore had no bearing on the case and subsequent ruling.
Had the minor children been adults, with the funds to hire an attorney to represent them, the attorney would have been hired with the clear understanding that they were to represent them and their wishes (or face being fired). Should the minor children have less right to representation because a court appointed attorney was assigned to their case?
This is an issue I hope will be addressed by the legal minds that take on this enormous challenge.
My phone has been ringing off the hook today. Terry Nevens of CHELD and I had a very long conversation today regarding the case. He is working with the Long Family, putting together their strategy, just as homeschooling organizations around the state are sinking their teeth into the case. Stay tuned for more discussion of the Long case. There are many more avenues of this case to explore. Now if I only had more time.
Did a California Appellate Court Render Homeschooling Illegal in California?
For a lot of people who claim not to put much stock in articles published by World Net Daily, their current article, "Judge orders homeschoolers into government education," sure has made the rounds and is being discussed not only on California lists but on lists as far away as Tennessee and people from the Netherlands.
In his article, Bob Unruh reports, "A California court has ruled that several children in one homeschool must be enrolled in a public school or "legally qualified" private school, and must attend, sending ripples of shock into the nation’s homeschooling advocates as the family reviews its options for appeal."
When a California Homeschool Network list member queried if now was the time to begin to panic. Karen Taylor’s response was, "If I (as CHN’s legal chair) or Loren Mavromati (as CHN’s president) tell you the sky is falling, start to worry then. Until that time, please remember this is a list with lots of independent opinions and a lot of people are thinking "what if" right now and wanting to talk about it."
Part of the problem, as I see it, is that parents homeschooling in California are asking all the right questions and no one is providing any answers. The silence on this topic speaks volumes.
When I first read the story, I added it to Education in the News and was prepared to let it run its course: no big deal. After reading the court documents, it was apparent to me that if this appellate court decision was allowed to stand on it’s face, it won’t only affect California homeschoolers, or rather those who homeschool independently under California private school laws, it will also render California Charter School’s illegal, the very ones that are being paid for by our tax dollars.
Rumor has it that a super power California legal teleconference is taking place today, in which all the major California based homeschooling organizations are to map out a strategic response. Those players involved in this high stakes legal game are California Homeschool Network (CHN), Christian Home Educators Association of California (CHEA), Family Protection Ministries, HomeSchool Association of California (HSC) and last, but not least, Home School Legal Defense Association (HSLDA).
My curiosity got the best of me and rather than wait for an official statement by these various organizations, I decided to go straight to the horses mouth and called Mr. & Mrs. Long to see just exactly what was going on. Phillip said I was the first person to call him regarding his case. He had not heard from any of the state or national homeschool organizations.
What I learned after speaking with Mr. Long and reading through miles of documents was that this case is anything but straightforward. Each parent and the children were supplied with court appointed attorneys, who it is obvious by the court records had a superficial knowledge of homeschool (read private school) laws in the state of California.
In the coming days I will be covering certain aspects of the appellate courts ruling and what it means for the future of homeschoolers living in California. Phillip Long is acutely aware of the situation we are facing and had this to say, "This isn’t really about us, it’s about homeschooling. We’re not happy about it, but it’s much bigger than us."
Having worked in the past with California Homeschool Network’s legal team and in turn with the other homeschooling organizations, I can assure you there are some great legal minds at work on this and I am confident that this matter will be handled expeditiously and the appellate court taken to task over this error of judgment.
For Additional Information
- Is Homeschooling Still Legal in California?
- In re Rachel L. — Homeschool Appellate Court Ruling
- In re Rachel L.
Home Education Magazine Celebrates 25 Years!
The January/February issue of Home Education Magazine marks the celebration of a quarter of a century of empowerment, caring and practical help that Home Education Magazine continues to provide homeschoolers worldwide!
The homeschooling community confirms that Home Education Magazine has provided more than just a publication over the years via an online tribute to Home Education Magazine. The many congratulatory notes and comments acknowledge the magazine’s 25 years of promoting homeschooling diversity, empowerment, support, networking, resources, encouragement and more.
You’ll find some exciting changes in the January-February issue of Home Education Magazine, including a new book review column by Jeanne Faulconer, and a new Homeschool Photo Album, with favorite pictures from homeschooling families! Check out the detailed content for the 25th Anniversary issue.
New HEM Podcast
HEM is also celebrating by entering the world of podcasting. The first one can be listened to at the HEM Support Group News.
Interviews about the 25th Anniversary of the premier homeschooling magazine can be arranged with publisher .
About Home Education Magazine
Home Education Magazine is owned and published by founders Mark and Helen Hegener and their third-generation homeschooling family. They understand homeschooling because they have always been homeschoolers. In 1983 the Hegeners began publishing Home Education Magazine for homeschooling families across the country, and now, over twenty-five years later, HEM is respected as the premier magazine in the field, described as "informative and commonsense" by Library Journal’s Magazines for Libraries and “highly recommended” by EBSCO’s Librarian’s Handbook. Winner: Forbes Awards, Parents’ Choice Recommended Awards, and many others.
Home Education Magazine
PO Box 1083, Tonasket, WA 98855
Phone: (509) 486-1351
Toll Free: 1-800-236-3278