Mirror of Justice

A blog dedicated to the development of Catholic legal theory.
Affiliated with the Program on Church, State & Society at Notre Dame Law School.

Monday, August 11, 2008

California homeschooling decision

On Friday August 8, 2008, the California Court of Appeals issued its decision in the home-schooling case. Here. The court removed the cloud over home-schooling by interpreting California law to permit home-schooling as a form of private school education. The court also made it clear that the decision of parents to home-school could be overridden (without violating the Constitution) to protect the safety of the children involved.

The decision seems a laudable effort to resolve, at least temporarily, the crisis in California that the earlier decison had threatened. Although I'd like to think about this a bit more, the constitutional discussion also seems sound, despite a few statements in the opinion that give a bit too much deference to state power. Even the strongest advocates of parental rights agree that the state may step in to protect the health and safety of children. Here, the parents who were carrying the banner of parental rights had been found, according to the published opinions, guilty of physical abuse and of a failure to protect one of the children from sexual abuse. The court of appeals ended up remanding the case and asked the lower court to consider whether the safety of the children required removing them from home schooling.

Richard M.


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