In a unanimous decision, the California Court of Appeal for the Second Appellate District today ruled that “California statutes permit home schooling as a species of private school education.”
Today’s decision stands in stark contrast to the opinion this same three-judge panel issued in February, which would have made California the only state in the union to outlaw home education had it remained in effect.
“It is unusual for an appellate court to grant a petition for rehearing as this court did in March,” said HSLDA Chairman Mike Farris, “but it is truly remarkable for a court to completely reverse its own earlier opinion. We thank you for your prayers and give God the glory for this great victory.”
When the court vacated its earlier decision on March 25, 2008, it invited interested organizations to file friend-of-the-court briefs. “I have never seen such an impressive array of people and organizations coming to the defense of homeschooling,” said Farris, who was one of the attorneys who argued the case on rehearing along with Alliance Defense Fund attorney Jeff Shafer, who represented the father. The father was also represented by Gary Kreep of the United States Justice Foundation.
California’s three largest homeschool organizations, California Homeschool Network, Homeschool Association of California and Christian Home Education Association joined together in one brief to defend the right of all parents to homeschool. HSLDA, Family Protection Ministries and Focus on the Family also joined in a separate brief. Numerous other private organizations came to the defense of home education as did California’s governor, attorney general, and superintendent of public instruction.
We are extremely grateful to all of the organizations who worked tirelessly to protect and preserve homeschooling freedom in California. We are also thankful for you, our members, for your prayers and support during this trying season.
The freedom to homeschool is a precious gift from God. But keeping it free requires vigilance and perseverance. We must continue to work together diligently to preserve this precious freedom in California and elsewhere.
To read the full opinion click here.
J. Michael Smith