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Criminal defense for homeschooling parents?

Many Florida parents have made the decision to assume responsibility for the education of their children. Homeschooling has a long history within the state, and most parents who make this choice do so with every intention of providing their child with the best possible learning environment. In one Florida county, multiple homeschooling parents have been ordered to register their child in a public or private school within three days or face criminal charges. If that threat becomes reality, these families may find themselves crafting a criminal defense in the matter.

The issue began when the county sent out letters demanding information from homeschooling parents. That information included the race, grade level and Social Security Numbers of their children. Another letter asked parents to provide proof of residency, and to prove that they were not still registered in any other school district.

It is not surprising that many of the families responded with outrage. The Home School Legal Defense Association has stepped in to assist, and asserts that none of the information demanded by the county is required under state law. Homeschooling parents are being urged to attend an upcoming school board meeting to discuss the matter, even though a request to have the issue placed on the meeting's agenda has been denied.

As it stands, those families who have refused to provide the requested information have had their applications for homeschooling terminated. They have been ordered to register their children in either a public or private school within three days, or face criminal prosecution. If the matter goes to court, the criminal defense approach chosen could focus on the rights of parents to direct the course of their child's education free from undue demands on the part of the state of Florida.

Source: wnd.com, "School to homeschoolers: Sign up or face criminal charges", Bob Unruh, Nov. 11, 2015

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