Former HSLDA Intern Helps Solve Georgia Truancy Case
By: Darren Jones
May 14, 2012
“It was a pleasure to serve the homeschool community,” wrote attorney Emily J. Matson, commenting on the Chart case (family names changed to protect privacy). Not only did Ms. Matson assist Home School Legal Defense Association in protecting homeschool freedom in Georgia this current school year, she was also an earlier HSLDA intern. Furthermore, she herself was homeschooled and participated in HSLDA’s former debate program in 1997, its first year.
Despite homeschooling’s general acceptance, some parents continue to face challenges to educating their children at home, even when they are following the law. The Charts have been homeschooling their high school son Dan in Georgia. State law requires homeschools to submit a declaration of intent to home study by September 1 each year. Before Debra Chart had submitted her declaration, she received a visit from the homeschool liaison official in August of 2012. The meeting was cordial, and Mrs. Chart assured the official she would be submitting the required declaration and attendance records on time. The day she mailed the forms she received a letter for a truancy conference at the school.
The Charts attended the conference only to have the school officials hand them a summons for a court hearing on their son’s alleged truancy. The Charts immediately contacted HSLDA. Our litigation team worked with Ms. Matson, a current Georgia attorney in private practice, to address the charges against the Charts.
Because the school district knew the Charts were homeschooling, they alleged that Dan was truant from his homeschool program. HSLDA and Ms. Matson presented proof to the court that Dan was indeed homeschooling in compliance with Georgia state law. Shortly after the hearing, the court dismissed the case. HSLDA was delighted to be able to work with a former HSLDA intern and homeschooler to uphold the right to homeschool.