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Homeschooling mom wards off state’s attempts to seize children
January 22, 2013 at 7:47 AM


A mother homeschooling her children with learning disabilities is victorious after a year-long battle against the state of Colorado, which sought to remove her children from her home and send them to public school.

In the fall of 2011, a social services worker showed up at the door of Josslyn Kittinger (real name withheld to protect privacy) to investigate her ability to properly educate her special needs children. The uninvited visit was attributed to an anonymous tip from a neighbor complaining that Kittinger was unfit to instruct her children and that they would receive a better education through public school.

And the reason for the unwarranted intrusion that would last for months on end?

Prosecutors, Kittinger's neighbors and the social services investigator all persistently argued that the mother had no right to homeschool her own children because their learning disabilities required state instruction.

But is this a right that can be questioned or taken away? Not according to Home School Legal Defense Association staff attorney Michael P. Donnelly, Esq., who also serves as its director of international relations.

Donnelly

"Many families homeschool their children who have learning disabilities because they find that the children's needs are better met in a one-on-one homeschool setting -- research shows that this is true," Donnelly contends. "It is intolerable that someone would question a family's right to homeschool simply because their children have a learning disability."

However, this contention shared with Ms. Kittinger did not deter further unwanted state involvement for long.

License for home invasion?

Even though the investigating social worker left after the initial visitation -- when Kittinger followed Donnelly's recommendation on the phone and cordially requested the state agent to leave -- a return visit would soon follow.

A few days after the initial visitation -- going on nothing more than a neighbor's comment and a drive-by in front of the Kittinger's house -- the social worker made an unfounded and fallacious determination that the family was preparing to escape to another state. Reporting the unsubstantiated findings to a local court, the investigator pursued and attained a court order, granting legal authority to remove the children from the Kittenger home and take them into state custody in order to send them to public school.

But instead of proceeding to carry out the verbal order, the social worker allowed Ms. Kittinger to retain custody of her children for the time being, on the condition she prove that she was legally homeschooling her children and was never intending on fleeing the state of Colorado. Following the protocol that ensues the issuance of a court order, a lawsuit was filed against the homeschooling mother, with a state prosecutor alleging that she was guilty of educational neglect of her children.

Unsuitable suit

Moving forward in the suit after attaining legal representation from HSLDA local counsel James Rouse, Ms. Kittinger was able to have the social worker's court order nullified in the initial court hearing -- after showing that according to Colorado state law, she was homeschooling legally with an independent school. This is one of the two ways children can be homeschooled in the Centennial State; the other requires legal guardians to file notifications directly with school districts on an annual basis.

The early victory, however, did not convince the state prosecutor to drop the case, which protracted to three hearings in the fall of 2011, and then a five-day trial, in which Donnelly defended Ms. Kittinger in December and the following March.

After an expert witness, Steven Duvall, Ph.D., provided evidence that Ms. Kittinger was providing a satisfactory level of education for her children under state law on the trial's first day, and just hours before the second trial date in March, the social worker dismissed the lawsuit. From his numerous visitations to the Kittinger home, he concluded that there was no proof of educational neglect, and he proceeded to persuade his prosecutor to concede the argument against the family and settle the case.

HSLDA (Home School Legal Defense Assn.)A proper defense

Even though this case came to a positive conclusion in regards to parents' rights to educate their children, many parents, when standing alone, are unable to counter challenges brought on by the state when it vies for the control of children's instruction.

"This victory is important for all homeschooling parents, because it strengthens the idea that all children have the right to be homeschooled and the need for HSLDA," Donnelly asserts. "How would this single mother have defended herself?

It is contended that the odds are against homeschoolers when government officials go after them to compel attendance in public schools, as Donnelly is skeptical that Ms. Kittinger would have fared well if left to her own devices without a powerful legal counsel geared to wage an all-out war against state interference.

"The resources needed for this were far beyond her own means, and most court-appointed defenders simply do not have the experience or sympathy to aggressively defend a mom homeschooling in this situation," concluded Donnelly, who along with his wife, homeschools their seven children. "I consider it a privilege to have been allowed to defend this mom who was doing what I believe was indeed best for her children."

source

Replies

  • Meadowchik
    January 23, 2013 at 10:27 AM

     Correct, the amount one pays in taxes does not depend on the number of students enrolled, but the amount a school collects from the government does.

    Quoting glitterteaz:

    Oh they do but the schools get credit also per social security number registered students

    Quoting AutymsMommy:

     

    My district gets my tax dollars regardless of that I homeschool. I assume, by your comment, that some places do not do this?

    Quoting candlegal:

    I think it really comes down to money more than anything.   Home schooling is increasing by about 10% a year and has been for many years.   For each child being homeschooled, how many thousands is the school system losing?  I know in Texas home schooled children are completely off the grid, which is a very good thing.

    Quoting ramonafrog:

    Wow. Good for her. I hate that the gov has so much control over what should always be a personal choice. I don't HS but I have several friends who do for this same reason. There are just some kids who need HS'ing rather than public.


     

     


     

  • autodidact
    January 23, 2013 at 12:46 PM

    they don't speak for me and I owe them no debt of gratitude.  I know better than the conservative version of the history of homeschooling,

    Quoting Meadowchik:

    The way I see it, the biggest positive force for homeschoolers, including unschoolers, is homeschoolers themselves.  And do I think in many ways we can thank the Christian-motivated homeschoolers for paving the way ion many cases for the more secular types.  And, this applies all over the world.  In 2012 the HSLDA participated in a conference in Berlin (where homeschoolers are fined and jailed) declaring the parental rights to homeschool their kids.  I cheered when I read about it a few days ago!

    I have not joined the HSLDA, but I am glad they are there!

     

    Quoting autodidact:


    for their kind of homeschoolers, anyhow.

    Quoting Meadowchik:

     

    Quoting AutymsMommy:

    As soon as I saw hslda I stopped reading. I homeschool. I homeschool a dyslexic child. I get it. I do.

    But hslda is KNOWN for exaggerating to fit their agenda.

     I wouldn' be so hasty.  HSLDA is an international organisation and is helping the little guy fight big battles, all over the world.  I am sooo grateful that they are a support for homeschooling families.



     



  • LindaClement
    January 23, 2013 at 1:08 PM

    Would you have noticed?

    It's only because I wouldn't sign one under any circumstances that I noticed.... 

    I have no idea if they still do.

    Quoting somuchlove4U:

    I've become a member of HSLDA. I don't remember signing a statement of faith.

    Quoting LindaClement:

    Admittedly it was a long time ago -- my kids are 23 and 21 now. I haven't looked into it beyond the first glance, but it was true then.

    Quoting MaySheWillStay:

    They actually want you to sign a statement of faith!? I had no idea they were that loony. And I thought they were loony to begin with.

    Didn't know they were specifically anti-unschool either, I just thought they were pro-package curriculum, and pro-religious curriculums in general. We're unschool-ish as well.

    Quoting LindaClement:

    I'm with you.

    I was never welcome to join HSLDA --partly because we unschool, which they oppose, but primarily because I would never sign the statement of faith.

    I don't know if that's changed, but they are often grinding their axe on school-at-home requirements I disagree with, so I stopped caring about joining...

    Quoting MaySheWillStay:

    I'm wondering if there's not more to the story.

    The HSLDA isn't exactly known for reporting the unbiased truth. This whole article reads like an advertisement for their legal services, with a healthy dose of "OMG HOMESCHOOLERS ARE PERSECUTED! PARENTAL RIGHTS UNDERMINED! PANIC!!!!" paranoia as well.

    I lived in Colorado for 4 years, it's a very homeschool and even unschool friendly state. Certainly one overzealous social worker can screw up, but if it's gotten through the ranks of the system and into the courts, something else is going on there. One overzealous social worker cannot push a case all the way through to the courts without others checking them, assessing the case, and agreeing that intervention is necessary.

    You can fail at one level of the system, even multiple levels, but as much as disdain as I have for it, failure at every single level of the system resulting in pure, unadulterated persecution of a completely innocent person with no questionable issues in regards to her children's education, safety or care, is not something I find particularly plausible.


    *I homeschool, by the way, so this is not from someone who is pro-public or anti-homeschooler in any way. I'm just trying to view it with a skeptical eye, as I believe everyone should when reading things published and spun by the HSLDA.





  • somuchlove4U
    January 23, 2013 at 1:45 PM
    I believe I would. I always read what I sign.

    Quoting LindaClement:

    Would you have noticed?

    It's only because I wouldn't sign one under any circumstances that I noticed.... 

    I have no idea if they still do.

    Quoting somuchlove4U:

    I've become a member of HSLDA. I don't remember signing a statement of faith.



    Quoting LindaClement:

    Admittedly it was a long time ago -- my kids are 23 and 21 now. I haven't looked into it beyond the first glance, but it was true then.

    Quoting MaySheWillStay:

    They actually want you to sign a statement of faith!? I had no idea they were that loony. And I thought they were loony to begin with.

    Didn't know they were specifically anti-unschool either, I just thought they were pro-package curriculum, and pro-religious curriculums in general. We're unschool-ish as well.

    Quoting LindaClement:

    I'm with you.

    I was never welcome to join HSLDA --partly because we unschool, which they oppose, but primarily because I would never sign the statement of faith.

    I don't know if that's changed, but they are often grinding their axe on school-at-home requirements I disagree with, so I stopped caring about joining...

    Quoting MaySheWillStay:

    I'm wondering if there's not more to the story.

    The HSLDA isn't exactly known for reporting the unbiased truth. This whole article reads like an advertisement for their legal services, with a healthy dose of "OMG HOMESCHOOLERS ARE PERSECUTED! PARENTAL RIGHTS UNDERMINED! PANIC!!!!" paranoia as well.

    I lived in Colorado for 4 years, it's a very homeschool and even unschool friendly state. Certainly one overzealous social worker can screw up, but if it's gotten through the ranks of the system and into the courts, something else is going on there. One overzealous social worker cannot push a case all the way through to the courts without others checking them, assessing the case, and agreeing that intervention is necessary.

    You can fail at one level of the system, even multiple levels, but as much as disdain as I have for it, failure at every single level of the system resulting in pure, unadulterated persecution of a completely innocent person with no questionable issues in regards to her children's education, safety or care, is not something I find particularly plausible.


    *I homeschool, by the way, so this is not from someone who is pro-public or anti-homeschooler in any way. I'm just trying to view it with a skeptical eye, as I believe everyone should when reading things published and spun by the HSLDA.





  • LindaClement
    January 23, 2013 at 1:50 PM

    They may not, anymore, then. Good.

    Quoting somuchlove4U:

    I believe I would. I always read what I sign.

    Quoting LindaClement:

    Would you have noticed?

    It's only because I wouldn't sign one under any circumstances that I noticed.... 

    I have no idea if they still do.

    Quoting somuchlove4U:

    I've become a member of HSLDA. I don't remember signing a statement of faith.



    Quoting LindaClement:

    Admittedly it was a long time ago -- my kids are 23 and 21 now. I haven't looked into it beyond the first glance, but it was true then.

    Quoting MaySheWillStay:

    They actually want you to sign a statement of faith!? I had no idea they were that loony. And I thought they were loony to begin with.

    Didn't know they were specifically anti-unschool either, I just thought they were pro-package curriculum, and pro-religious curriculums in general. We're unschool-ish as well.

    Quoting LindaClement:

    I'm with you.

    I was never welcome to join HSLDA --partly because we unschool, which they oppose, but primarily because I would never sign the statement of faith.

    I don't know if that's changed, but they are often grinding their axe on school-at-home requirements I disagree with, so I stopped caring about joining...

    Quoting MaySheWillStay:

    I'm wondering if there's not more to the story.

    The HSLDA isn't exactly known for reporting the unbiased truth. This whole article reads like an advertisement for their legal services, with a healthy dose of "OMG HOMESCHOOLERS ARE PERSECUTED! PARENTAL RIGHTS UNDERMINED! PANIC!!!!" paranoia as well.

    I lived in Colorado for 4 years, it's a very homeschool and even unschool friendly state. Certainly one overzealous social worker can screw up, but if it's gotten through the ranks of the system and into the courts, something else is going on there. One overzealous social worker cannot push a case all the way through to the courts without others checking them, assessing the case, and agreeing that intervention is necessary.

    You can fail at one level of the system, even multiple levels, but as much as disdain as I have for it, failure at every single level of the system resulting in pure, unadulterated persecution of a completely innocent person with no questionable issues in regards to her children's education, safety or care, is not something I find particularly plausible.


    *I homeschool, by the way, so this is not from someone who is pro-public or anti-homeschooler in any way. I'm just trying to view it with a skeptical eye, as I believe everyone should when reading things published and spun by the HSLDA.






  • Meadowchik
    January 24, 2013 at 3:03 AM

     Do enlighten me as to the "true" history of homeschooling in America.  It might help to know that historical records, including government records, do indicate religion as the main reason for it, and that has remained that way for our lifetimes, although secular homeschoolers are expanding.

    http://usatoday30.usatoday.com/news/education/story/2012-02-14/home-schools-secular/53095020/1

    You don't have to thank them, but IMO is would be a bit silly to ignore the positive impact. 

    Quoting autodidact:

    they don't speak for me and I owe them no debt of gratitude.  I know better than the conservative version of the history of homeschooling,

    Quoting Meadowchik:

    The way I see it, the biggest positive force for homeschoolers, including unschoolers, is homeschoolers themselves.  And do I think in many ways we can thank the Christian-motivated homeschoolers for paving the way ion many cases for the more secular types.  And, this applies all over the world.  In 2012 the HSLDA participated in a conference in Berlin (where homeschoolers are fined and jailed) declaring the parental rights to homeschool their kids.  I cheered when I read about it a few days ago!

    I have not joined the HSLDA, but I am glad they are there!

     

    Quoting autodidact:

     

    for their kind of homeschoolers, anyhow.

    Quoting Meadowchik:

     

    Quoting AutymsMommy:

    As soon as I saw hslda I stopped reading. I homeschool. I homeschool a dyslexic child. I get it. I do.

    But hslda is KNOWN for exaggerating to fit their agenda.

     I wouldn' be so hasty.  HSLDA is an international organisation and is helping the little guy fight big battles, all over the world.  I am sooo grateful that they are a support for homeschooling families.

     

     

     

     

     

     

  • Jynnifer292
    January 24, 2013 at 3:09 AM

    The neighbor must not have much of a life to spend so much time trying to ruin others. My son is autistic. After years of fighting with our crap school system, I finally pulled him to homeschool him. He is doing so much better now.

  • autodidact
    January 24, 2013 at 12:19 PM

    I have no interest in you or HSLDA's version of homeschooling or its history, and no need to have you tell me about secular homeschooling. 


    Quoting Meadowchik:

     Do enlighten me as to the "true" history of homeschooling in America.  It might help to know that historical records, including government records, do indicate religion as the main reason for it, and that has remained that way for our lifetimes, although secular homeschoolers are expanding.

    http://usatoday30.usatoday.com/news/education/story/2012-02-14/home-schools-secular/53095020/1

    You don't have to thank them, but IMO is would be a bit silly to ignore the positive impact. 

    Quoting autodidact:

    they don't speak for me and I owe them no debt of gratitude.  I know better than the conservative version of the history of homeschooling,

    Quoting Meadowchik:

    The way I see it, the biggest positive force for homeschoolers, including unschoolers, is homeschoolers themselves.  And do I think in many ways we can thank the Christian-motivated homeschoolers for paving the way ion many cases for the more secular types.  And, this applies all over the world.  In 2012 the HSLDA participated in a conference in Berlin (where homeschoolers are fined and jailed) declaring the parental rights to homeschool their kids.  I cheered when I read about it a few days ago!

    I have not joined the HSLDA, but I am glad they are there!

     

    Quoting autodidact:


    for their kind of homeschoolers, anyhow.

    Quoting Meadowchik:

     

    Quoting AutymsMommy:

    As soon as I saw hslda I stopped reading. I homeschool. I homeschool a dyslexic child. I get it. I do.

    But hslda is KNOWN for exaggerating to fit their agenda.

     I wouldn' be so hasty.  HSLDA is an international organisation and is helping the little guy fight big battles, all over the world.  I am sooo grateful that they are a support for homeschooling families.



     



     



  • Meadowchik
    January 25, 2013 at 5:44 AM

    As I invited, you are welcome to describe the "true" version of homeschooling history.  I think that discussing the facts is much better than merely being dismissive.

     

    Quoting autodidact:

    I have no interest in you or HSLDA's version of homeschooling or its history, and no need to have you tell me about secular homeschooling. 

     

    Quoting Meadowchik:

     Do enlighten me as to the "true" history of homeschooling in America.  It might help to know that historical records, including government records, do indicate religion as the main reason for it, and that has remained that way for our lifetimes, although secular homeschoolers are expanding.

    http://usatoday30.usatoday.com/news/education/story/2012-02-14/home-schools-secular/53095020/1

    You don't have to thank them, but IMO is would be a bit silly to ignore the positive impact. 

    Quoting autodidact:

    they don't speak for me and I owe them no debt of gratitude.  I know better than the conservative version of the history of homeschooling,

    Quoting Meadowchik:

    The way I see it, the biggest positive force for homeschoolers, including unschoolers, is homeschoolers themselves.  And do I think in many ways we can thank the Christian-motivated homeschoolers for paving the way ion many cases for the more secular types.  And, this applies all over the world.  In 2012 the HSLDA participated in a conference in Berlin (where homeschoolers are fined and jailed) declaring the parental rights to homeschool their kids.  I cheered when I read about it a few days ago!

    I have not joined the HSLDA, but I am glad they are there!

     

    Quoting autodidact:

     

    for their kind of homeschoolers, anyhow.

    Quoting Meadowchik:

     

    Quoting AutymsMommy:

    As soon as I saw hslda I stopped reading. I homeschool. I homeschool a dyslexic child. I get it. I do.

    But hslda is KNOWN for exaggerating to fit their agenda.

     I wouldn' be so hasty.  HSLDA is an international organisation and is helping the little guy fight big battles, all over the world.  I am sooo grateful that they are a support for homeschooling families.

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

  • sha_lyn68
    January 31, 2013 at 10:30 AM


    Quoting candlegal:

    Yes it is an excellent organization

    Quoting yourspecialkid:

     Well.....you see they don't get the big bucks unless those little butts are in public school seats.

    We had kind of a reverse issue here...the district accused us of educational neglect because our son has been very sick the last few months...they didn't care if we had doctor and hospital reports...didn't care if he had all the work done and straight A's in his Honors classes..and his 2 high school level classes....his little butt wasn't in the seat and they were threatening summer school.

    I took him out of school and filed paperwork to homeschool.

    The HSLDA is a good organization.  There was some trouble here for homeschoolers and they were instrumental in putting a stop to it.

     



    Actually, it is horrible organzation that uses fear tactics, exagerations and flat out lies in an attempted to drum up new membership.

     

    HSLDA:

    http://homeschooling.gomilpitas.com/articles/102299.htm 

    http://hsislegal.com/ 

    http://www.homeedmag.com/HEM/172/ma_clmn_tch.html 

    http://www.homeedmag.com/HEM/164/ja_clmn_tch.html 

    http://www.homeedmag.com/HEM/185/sotch.html 


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