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Dobson, Home Schooling Advocates
Decry California Court Ruling
ome schooling advocates, including Focus on the Family founder James Dobson, have decried a recent California court decision that declares most forms of home schooling illegal.
The February 28 ruling by a California appeals court came in a juvenile court case involving a family that home schooled their children and had them tested occasionally at a Christian school.
"The fact remains that the children are taught at home by a non-credentialed person," wrote Associate Justice H. Walter Croskey in an 18-page decision, in which two other justices concurred.
They ruled that public school enrollment is generally required unless a child is enrolled in a full-time private school or tutored by a credentialed person. A lower court did not order such schooling based on a belief that the parents had a constitutional right to home school, but Croskey wrote, "California courts have held that ... parents do not have a constitutional right to home school their children."
Dobson, whose ministry is based in Colorado Springs, Colo., called the decision "an all-out assault on the family" and "an imperious assault on the rights of parents."
"The ruling should have been confined to that one couple, not used to punish an entire class of people, the vast majority of them religious conservatives," Dobson said Thursday (March 6).
The Home School Legal Defense Association has started a petition to "depublish" the appellate ruling, a move that would mean the case is not binding on any other family in the state.
"The ability to home-school freely in California should not depend upon one family in a closed-door proceeding," the foundation said on its Web site. "All families should have the right to be heard since the rights of all are clearly at stake."
The Pacific Justice Institute intends to appeal the case to the California Supreme Court on behalf of Sunland Christian School in Sylmar, Calif.
"If not reversed, the parents of more than 166,000 students currently receiving an education at home will be subject to criminal sanctions," said Brad Dacus, president of the legal defense organization in Sacramento