A big sigh of relief for California home-school parents Friday as an appeals court ruled that parents did not need to have state teaching credentials in order to teach their children at home.
The Alliance Defense Fund told CBN News that the courts ruled in favor of their group and numerous others representing California parents in the case. All involved consider it a huge victory for home-school parents in the Golden State and throughout the nation.
A Thorough Decision
"One of the significant findings to come out of today's decision is that the court accurately analyzed CA private school law," said Gary McCaleb, Senior Legal Counsel with ADF.
"They said the legislature hasn't done a good job writing clear laws, but based on what they say, it is clear that moms and dads fall under private school laws and can home school their children without getting state teacher certification," McCaleb elaborated.
Earlier this year, a California state court ruled that parents who educate their children at home could be criminally liable under California law. The justices ruled that parents "do not have a constitutional right to home school their children."
The court argued that only credentialed teachers could educate children.
Team Effort Pays Off
Many pro-family groups viewed the ruling as troublesome because California's public schools have some of the more liberal laws in the nation regarding teaching about sexuality and homosexuality.
They feared the court's published opinion would force thousands of families to stop home schooling.
The American Centerfor Law and Justice agreed and filed a friend-of-the-court brief in May asking the court to protect the right of parents to home school their children.
"We're pleased the appeals court recognized the rights of parents to provide education for their children," said Jay Sekulow, Chief Counsel of the ACLJ.
Constitutional Parental Rights Upheld
"This decision reaffirms the constitutional right that's afforded to parents in directing the education of their children. It's an important victory for families who cherish the freedom to ensure that their children receive a high quality education that is inherent in homeschooling," Sekulow noted in a press release applauding the decision.
ADF's McCaleb told CBNNews.com that he was also pleased with what the decision said regarding parental rights under the constitution.
"It addressed the fundamental rights of parents to bring up their children and a key part of that right is the right to home school if a parent chooses to do so," he said.
One Case Lead to Another
McCaleb said the case actually stemmed from a juvenile court case involving concern over the safety of children in a homeschool family and reports of abuse that occurred many years ago.
Home school advocates across the nation were shocked in February, when an appeal ruling of that old case came out.
It stated parents could not home school their children if they did not have a state teaching certificate.
However, the attorneys representing the father in the juvenile court case convinced the court to visit the case again which resulted in the big win for home school and parental rights.
"A part of the opinion also put the burden of proof on the state to prove why it would be necessary to infringe on parental rights," McCaleb stated.
He went on to explain that this ruling applied to home schooling and other issues where parents would be called into question by the state.
"When that happens," McCaleb explained, "the government would have to prove that it had strong reasons before it can interfere with the parents' rights to raise their children."
As for the family involved in this case, McCaleb said they are much stronger and healthy as a family. He told CBNNews.com that the juvenile court case was dismissed "so the father and his family are free to school at home."
"This family stood strong in a long battle for their faith and their home and these court decisions show that they were in the right," he said.
Sources: CBN News, ADF, ACLJ