By: Krystle Crossman
In West Virginia home-school parents have a battle to fight that not many other states have. One mother found this out the hard way and contacted the Home School Legal Defense Association for some help. Attorney Mike Donnelly took the case.
Patricia’s daughter Kaitlyn was being home-schooled. They had gone through all of the proper channels to make sure that this was above board. Patricia notified the school, got approved for home-schooling, and complied with all of the laws that she needed to in order to keep her daughter at home. She was a single parent who wanted to be a home-school mother. She ran into an issue when Kaitlyn turned 18.
Patricia’s ex-husband had been paying child support for his daughter. Just a few days after her 18th birthday Kaitlyn’s payments stopped. Patricia was informed by the agency that dealt with the child support payments that since Kaitlyn was over 18 and was not in school child support no longer had to be paid by her ex-spouse. She explained to them that she was legally home-schooling her child but their response was that West Virginia doesn’t recognize home-schooling as a valid form of education. One of the staff members at the agency told her that they know that children who are home-schooled work as hard as kids in public school.
Patricia was taken aback by this. She felt that all of the hard work she and her daughter had done while home-schooling was all for nothing. This is when she contacted the HSLDA for help. Mike Donnelly took over the case even though the HSLDA doesn’t usually help with custody related cases. He spoke with the West Virginia Bureau for Child Support Enforcement. He said that he took on the case because it wasn’t about the custody issues. It was about a government agency discriminating against home-schooled children.
Donnelly contacted the agency and let them know that home-schooling was indeed considered a valid form of secondary education per state laws. Shortly after that they got a letter back stating that they had investigated the matter and that Patricia’s support was being reinstated. She felt relieved because she didn’t want her daughter to have to suffer just because they chose to do things a little differently.