And something else
Subject: [HSC List] Hype about the case and plea to remain calm
I have been astonished about the hype about this case. So many have
making sensational claims that parents will be criminally prosecuted,
Please rest assured about a number of things. First, the law, other
court's interpretation, hasn't changed. Parents involved in a truancy
prosecution might face criminal charges, but only after a rather
of hearings and court orders, and only if the parents failed to
comply with the
orders. It would be a criminal contempt charge, which isn't nothing
land you in Pelican Bay.
We have never known conscientious parents ever to be prosecuted under
laws to the point of contempt charges. It's highly unlikely.
The media also appear to be saying that no one can teach their
without a credential. I am not certain that the holding is that
broad, and I
also doubt it would survive legal challenge.
The holding really applied to private ISPs (there are persistent
that began with fact statements in the case, that the family was
enrolled in a
charter. Obviously a school with the name "Christian" in it wouldn't
be a public
charter. It was a private ISP). It could be read by someone reading
applying to any situation where the child is not continuously in the
a credentialed teacher.
The court started on a very slippery path of appearing to think that
situations were OK and others weren't, effectively trying to enact an
code of regulations for governing this situation from the bench. He
given the constitutional authority, of course, to do this.
How do we get rid of this case?
There are a number of paths. One is seeking actual review by the
Court. HSC and at least several of the other major groups' legal
teams aren't in
favor of that. Even if you could get the court to accept your
only take 3-5% of cases), the chances that it will be decided the way
aren't real good. It's a very dangerous road to take, because if the
Court were to affirm the appellate court ruling on either of the main
(constitutional or statutory), there aren't many options left. The
constitutional argument, of course, could be appealed to the US
but the statutory case about the proper interpretation of the
Education Code could not. California Supreme Court is the last stop
road. If that happens, then you have two bad choices that I'll
There is another much easier choice, and it's the one we want, as
well as the
one being trumpeted in the HSLDA petition. You ask the California
to depublish the opinion, or, in other words, have them say that
might have been the right result in this particular case involving
particular set of facts, the court finds that the reach of the
overbroad and should not become law for the entire state. That is the
all (meaning HSC and, I believe, the other groups) want.
You get this by filing a letter with the Supreme Court in compliance
applicable rules of court. While anyone can file one by stating their
we DO NOT think it is an appropriate use of grassroots activism. We
DO NOT want
every HSC member or HSLDA member or grandmother or irate citizen
their letters to the Supreme Court. There are sober, measured, legal
to make about why depublication is appropriate, and those arguments
after researching the applicable standards, etc. The Supreme Court
will not be
swayed positively by public outcry. In fact, it could backfire, and
If the Supreme Court affirms on the statutory points, then the two
are to either seek legislation or to do nothing and hope that a
further case is
brought that can involve a better set of facts and better explanation
issues (and reaching a better result). Both are very dangerous.
isn't the answer because of the extraordinary strength of the
It is unlikely we will see any legislation ultimately pass that gives
freedom we have today. And the second choice is dangerous. I know
families that would make terrific test case defendants -- they're
they actually get their kids educated, they follow the laws. But we
don't get to
pick who the family is. As a friend of mine said, we couldn't have
worse set of facts for this case if we had a contest.
We are trying to get one or more of the fanciest law firms in the
help us on taking the fangs out of this case. We know what we're
let us do our jobs.
I would be personally, professionally, and, as a representative of
globally grateful if everyone on this list would calm down and ask
calm down. Specifically, I would ask people:
a. Not to write to the Supreme Court or any court.
b. Not to talk to their legislators or make any public statements
about a need
c. Tell their neighbors, friends, lists, groups both of the above and
educate them about the choices available and about how panic isn't
marches on Sacramento aren't necessary, etc.
I wish this were the type of situation where we could put the fury,
and energy of the members of this list to good use. Trust me, if we
having to go the legislative route, we will have that situation at
But this isn't that type of situation, and too many folks stirring
hurts instead of helps.
Thanks for listening.
HSC Legal Team Co-chair