The Homeschool Legal Defense Association is coming to the defense of a mother who was ordered to send her children to public school.
The mother, Therese Cano of Florida, is fighting a battle with her ex-husband over visitation rights. During arbitration, the court appointed a guardian ad litem and appointed a psychologist to oversee the mental well-being of the children.
Despite the fact that the court-appointed psychologist testified during a recent hearing that the children, who were being homeschooled by their mother, were performing fine academically, the guardian ad litem insisted the children be sent to public school in order to socialize, according to The Tampa Bay Times.
The judge overseeing the case, acting on the recommendation of court appointees, ordered the children to attend public school.
"When are they going to socialize?" the judge asked Cano. "Is homeschool going to continue through college and/or professional schooling? At which point are these children going to interact with other children, and isn't that in their best interest?"
After the ruling was handed down Cano contacted HSLDA and revealed her story. The legal group filed an amicus brief with the court. The organization then went on to disprove the notion that children who are homeschooled react awkwardly in social situations, according to Christian News Network.
"It is truly unfortunate that after decades of homeschooling parents are still fighting a battle against ignorance and 'What about socialization?'" Jim Mason, HSLDA's litigation counsel, wrote in the brief. "We see this as an excellent opportunity to educate judges in Florida about homeschooling success."
"Numerous studies and surveys have shown that children who are homeschooled thrive educationally and socially both during and after their compulsory-education years," the organization added. "As one researcher concluded, "Despite the widespread belief that home schooling is socially isolating, the research documents quite clearly that home-schooled children are very much engaged in the social routines of their communities."
HSLDA notes that the case has far-reaching implications and sets a precedent that future cases could be based on. Due to the nature of the case the HSLDA is working to have the ruling overturned.
"The Guardian ad Litem's 'gut reaction' was simply wrong and the trial court erred by relying on it," HSLDA concluded in its brief. "The unfair, unsupported bias against homeschoolers should not be allowed to persist in the lower courts of this state. The trial court's order placing Appellant's children in public school should be reversed."