By: Krystle Crossman
When a Massachusetts family began to home-school their son Sam intermittently because he was too sick to go to school, they thought that they were helping to give him the best education possible with his current condition. They never thought that they would be facing charges of truancy.
Sam has been battling with Lyme Disease for the last few years. He was taking out of school completely at one point but begged his parents to let him re-enroll. They agreed and he went back to middle school. There were many days that he was not able to make it to school however and so on those days they would home-school him. His attendance at the school was poor. They decided that again they were going to pull him from school and home-school him permanently. They had been previously approved by the district to do so. This time they were denied. The school is now stating that they will be contacting the authorities and are considering of pressing charges against the family for truancy. They feel that the absences that he has from school because of the home-schooling are unlawful.
The family is fighting to keep their child home-schooled with the help of the HSLDA (Home School Legal Defense Association). Michael Donnelly of the HSLDA is on the case with the family. Donnelly has done research to find out why they are facing truancy charges and found out that it is related to the course load that Sam has coupled with his illness. He was able to negotiate more time for the family to make a new home-school plan and to gather documents from the doctor that stated the severity of Sam’s condition.
Just a few days after the court summons the family got the good news that their home-schooling plan was approved and that their court date was canceled. Donnelly says that when superintendents and schools get too busy with other issues they usually turn to legal action when something comes up that they cannot handle.