Wednesday, December 30, 2009

Fort Wayne Moms Prosecuted for Home Schooling

Some time ago a few Indiana parents who home-schooled their children took my blog to task for my opinions on the legalities of home schooling. I had indicated that Indiana's laws on home-schooling were vague and that parents of special needs children should be very careful and invoke many shields if they intended to home-school their children. This blog was severely attacked by a few home-schooling parents.

I do hate to be right, but now we have this Fort Wayne case, where two moms are on a year's probation for not being able to prove that they are able to provide an adequate education for their children. These are criminal charges, neglect of a dependent. Interestingly, the parents' attorney unsuccessfully argued that Indiana's home-school law was too "vague."

The information provided by the press does not indicate whether either of these two children have any special needs and/or require any type of special education. Assuming that they do not have any special needs, this is a warning flag for parents whose children are in need of any type of special services. If parents can be criminally prosecuted for educational neglect for home-schooling their typical children then parents who choose to home-school special needs children should understand certain things.

If a parent is charged with educational neglect for home-schooling a special needs child, they are the school and are charged with providing an "appropriate education." They should be prepared to prove that they are providing their child with every service the child would be entitled to if the child were enrolled in a public school. That means the court could look at whether the parent provides a teacher licensed in the area of the child's disability (either a teacher of record or a teacher of service), as well as any related services that the child is entitled to have in the public school setting.

As I responded to the parents who criticized my earlier blog: my position on parents who choose to home-school special needs children has not changed. In fact, I think this latest occurance proves my point. Any parent who home-schools a child should keep excellent records on what type of education their child/children receive. The courts will require parents to prove that their child is receiving an adequate education. The burden is even greater for a parent who wants to home-school a special needs child.

I would never say to a parent to NOT home-school a child. That is a personal decision and from what I see in schools I think there are some very good reasons for not wanting to expose your own child to what goes on. I simply say again that parents of special needs children must understand that they must do MORE than a parent of a typical child.

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