JOINT NEWSFLASH UPDATE – July 11, 2008
From: Private and Home Educators of California (a program of Family Protection Ministries) and the Christian Home Educators Association of California (CHEA)
Update in the Rachel L case:
Yesterday, the juvenile court dismissed the L family case, which means that it terminated jurisdiction over the two youngest children. The case is still pending before the appellate court at this time and we will update you with news of any of their future actions. Because there are two different courts involved, there has been some confusion about exactly what the new decision means.
The L family has been before the juvenile court in an action related to alleged abuse or negligence of their youngest two children for two years. At the juvenile court level, the judge had refused to order the children to attend a different school because he ruled that the parents have a constitutional right to homeschool. Juvenile court actions are “closed,” so the proceedings of that court were unknown to the public until last February 28, when the appellate court, Third District, issued a ruling on a writ that had been filed in the case. In that writ, the appellate court had been asked to order the L children to attend a school where they would be in regular contact with mandated child abuse reporters, so that the children’s safety could be monitored.
The appellate court responded to the writ with their now infamous ruling, in which they basically stated that homeschooling in California is illegal unless the parent has a valid California teaching credential. The appellate court later agreed to a rehearing on the matter, and that rehearing took place on June 23, 2008. The appellate court now has 90 days from June 23rd in which to issue its new ruling.
So what does yesterday’s decision in the juvenile court mean? First, it means that a motion can be made to the appellate court, asking them to drop the homeschool issue completely since the matter for the L family is now moot. Mootness results when a court’s decision will have no binding effect upon a party and here, the appellate court’s decision would have no effect on the L family since the juvenile court has terminated its jurisdiction.
However, it is important to understand that the appellate court can grant such a motion or deny it, choosing to issue a decision instead. The appellate court could do this, for example, if it wants to go on record regarding the legality of homeschooling.
Therefore, we ask that you join us first in giving thanksgiving to God for His mercy to the L family in yesterday’s tremendous victory. Second, we ask for you to join us in fervent prayer, asking for God to lead the appellate court to now drop the matter.
Regardless of how the court rules, we remain committed to monitoring this issue and keeping you updated. At this point no laws have changed regarding homeschooling and we continue to work to preserve our current level of freedom to homeschool.