Friday, June 24, 2016

Texas Supreme Court: Challenge To Home-School Rules Does Not Require Exhaustion of Administrative Remedies

In McIntyre v. El Paso Independent School District, (TX Sup. Ct., June 24, 2016), the Texas Supreme Court in a 6-3 decision held that parents of home-schooled children were not required to exhaust administrative remedies before they challenged the constitutionality of state law provisions mandating curricular standards for home schools.  The parents alleged that their rights to due process, equal protection, and free exercise of religion under the Texas Constitution and U.S. Constitutions were infringed, along with their right to privacy under the Texas Constitution. According to the majority:
The McIntyres claim that the District and its attendance officer unconstitutionally investigated them and filed criminal complaints against them. They do not claim to be aggrieved by the school laws.
The dissent by Justice Green, joined by Justices Johnson and Brown argued:
[T]he Court today ignores our rules of statutory construction and holds that homeschool parents can avoid that exhaustion requirement simply by cloaking their school-law claims in constitutional language.
According to a Christian Science Monitor report on the decision, the parents stopped teaching their children a standard curriculum because they believed they would soon be "raptured."