By Roy Hanson, Jr.
Most homeschooling families teach their children for many years and never have any contact with a public official regarding their homeschooling. However, your family could be one of the families who will need legal help. HSLDA reports that during 2007, private homeschooling member families experienced 2,432 contacts by government officials in California. And during 2008, in spite of that year’s very successful Appellate level homeschool court case, 3,162 contacts were reported. In each case, HSLDA intervened quickly to help these members handle their situation. These families are very grateful that they are members of HSLDA and that HSLDA has the expert legal help, which only HSLDA provides.
Among the contacts handled during this past 2-year period, HSLDA helped all 12 of our fellow homeschoolers who were summoned before a School Attendance Review Board (SARB) on allegations of truancy. HSLDA also resolved the additional 15 truancy allegation cases – preventing them from ending up in a SARB hearing. In all of these cases, these member families were able to return to their priority of caring for and training their children without further governmental harassment.
Family Protection Ministries continues to strongly urge every private homeschooling family to join HSLDA. The annual membership fee is $115. If you are a member of an organization, which has an HSLDA discount agreement (such as CHEA), then it is only $95. There are also significant discounts for 2-year and 5-year memberships, as well as a lifetime membership and various payment plans. If finances are a problem, please call HSLDA and talk to them.
HSLDA membership gives your family immediate access to attorneys with the greatest experience and expertise in laws related to private home education in the nation. After a family joins HSLDA, there are no further charges of any kind for defending your family in court. HSLDA pays in full all lawyer’s fees, expert witness fees, court transcripts, travel expenses, and all other court costs. This has been their practice since they began in 1983. If you are one of the many families who have not needed to call HSLDA for help so far, your membership fee makes their help possible for those families who suddenly do need their help.
HSLDA has an attorney on duty 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. If, as a member of HSLDA, you are ever contacted by a government official (truant officer, police officer, Child Protective Service social worker, etc.) about homeschooling your children, you will always be able to talk directly with an attorney by calling HSLDA: (540) 338-5600. If you call and get HSLDA’s answering machine, simply follow the directions on their voicemail recording on how to reach the attorney on duty. No other organization comes close to providing the specialized and successful help provided by HSLDA.
HSLDA has also continually and competently worked to help us here at Family Protection Ministries (FPM) in many ways as we work together to preserve homeschooler’s freedoms in our State Legislature in Sacramento. Again, because so many of you are members, HSLDA is able to have the best and only team of attorneys specialized and experienced in laws affecting home education.
We, at FPM, are able to consult with them regularly on analysis of legislation and response strategy. Their help to us is a benefit not only to all California home educators but also to all private schools and parents in protecting their rights.
In addition to the very important support they provide to homeschoolers in each state, HSLDA is our first line of defense in our nation’s capitol. Each family’s membership combined with other families’ memberships in HSLDA enables them to work aggressively with Congress, the administration, and in the courts to protect private home education in particular and parental rights in general. For instance, HSLDA is at the forefront of the fight against the U.N.’s Convention on the Rights of the Child (CRC) and other parental rights issues. A wrong federal or Supreme Court decision or bad legislation at the federal level can easily undo all of our work to protect families at the state level.
Leaders of PSPs and Support Groups should also urge homeschoolers to join HSLDA. The best way to make this easy and more likely to happen is to order quantities of HSLDA’s Membership Brochure and Application to distribute to your members. Some PSP’s require their families to join HSLDA to ensure the family receives a quality legal defense, thereby guaranteeing that the PSP’s program will also be represented as well in case of a truancy prosecution.
To order the quantity you need for your group, email a request to HSLDA at firstname.lastname@example.org. HSLDA asks that you request only as many brochures as you figure will be needed at the time. They prefer to make several smaller shipments as you need them rather than one large shipment, some of which may end up sitting unused. Also, HSLDA often updates their Membership Brochure and Application throughout the year, and anybody receiving one would want to have the most recent and up-to-date information. In your email request, please provide either your P.O. Box address to receive by regular mail, or your street address and phone number in order to receive it by UPS. Shipments to California will generally arrive sooner by UPS.
Why Do We Need a Legal Defense Association? Published by CHEA of California
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