Home Schoolers Arrested

May 3, 2000

A few decades ago, if parents wanted to home school their children they often did so with a level of secrecy. I have talked to mothers who would keep their children indoors with the curtains drawn during school hours. Many had a legitimate fear they might be arrested for truancy. But now the fear has evaporated, or has it?

A Virginia couple has filed a civil rights lawsuit against officials of the Richmond County School District because an assistant school principal had them arrested for pulling their children out of the public school.

When I first heard about the case, I thought this was the wrong state to arrest a home schooling parents. After all, the Home School Legal Defense Association is located in the state of Virginia. Michael Farris is the president of the organization and even ran for Lieutenant Governor in the state. If you are going to arrest home schooling parents in the state of Virginia, you might want to reconsider. Anyway, here are the facts:

Gerald and Angela Balderson withdrew their eight-year-old son from the public school district after deciding to home school him. They filed the required legal notice with the local school superintendent on February 25.

On March 17, the assistant principal of the Richmond County Elementary School had the couple arrested for violation of the state's compulsory attendance laws. Apparently, he didn't even check with the superintendent's office to see if they filed papers. He had both parents arrested, and they were taken to the Richmond County's sheriff's office.

We will see how far the case gets in the courts, but I applaud the couple for reminding us that parents are still occasionally being arrested for truancy because they choose to home school their kids.

I'm Kerby Anderson of Probe Ministries, and that's my opinion.