Monday, August 11, 2014

Texas Court Says There Is No Absolute Right To Home School Free of State Regulation

In El Paso Independent School District v. McIntyre, (TX App., Aug. 6, 2014), home-school parents challenged the right of the state to investigate the curriculum which they utilized. It was claimed that the McIntyre children did little school work, and that one of the children said they did not need to because they were going to be raptured. When another of the children ran away at age 17 so she could attend school, the parents refused to provide the school district with any information.

Most of the appellate court's lengthy decision dismissed various claims by the parents on procedural and jurisdictional grounds, including failure to exhaust administrative remedies, election of remedies and qualified immunity. Reaching the parents' 1st Amendment free exerrcise claim, the court rejected the parents' argument that the U.S. Supreme Court's 1972 Yoder decision gave them the right to withhold their children from any type of institutional school beyond the eighth grade. The court noted tha the situation of the Amish in that case was unique and observed:
No parents have ever prevailed in any reported case on a theory that they have an absolute constitutional right to educate their children in the home, completely free of any state supervision, regulation, or requirements.