Education
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Can a Florida judge allow a ‘gut feeling’ to prevent homeschooling?

A Florida mother and her children now find themselves in the middle of an important, potentially precedent-setting appeals-court battle over homeschooling rights after a routine child visitation arbitration went terribly awry.

The facts of the case, at least as they haven been presented by the Home School Legal Defense Association (HSLDA), are appalling.

The mother, Therese Cano, had been involved in a child visitation court battle with her ex-husband, reports the Tampa Bay Times. She had also been homeschooling her children.

Despite the fact that the husband, Alejandro Cano, had no objection to the homeschooling situation, and despite the fact that homeschooling was not an issue in front of the court, the meddlesome judge ordered the kids to begin attending a public school.

The unnamed judge issued the order based on the recommendation of an also-unnamed, court-appointed guardian ad litem who expressed her belief that the children would be better-adjusted if they attended public school.

According to a friend-of-the-court brief by the HSLDA, the guardian ad litem testified in trial court concerning her “gut reaction” that “you know what, maybe the kids should have socialization with other kids and go to a small school.”

Based on the guardian ad litem’s “gut feeling,” and despite a court psychologist’s determination that the kids were doing fine academically, the unnamed judge commanded Cano to send her kids to public school.

According to the HSLDA, the judge further lectured: “When are they going to socialize? 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?”

As the HSLDA’s brief notes, a copious number of studies and surveys show that homeschooled children do well in college and become emotionally-secure and socialized adults. Research also shows that homeschooled kids tend to be “very much engaged” in their communities.

“The Guardian ad litem’s ‘gut reaction’ was simply wrong and the trial court erred by relying on it,” the HSLDA argues.

The Daily Caller cannot help but wonder if the judge in this case is any relation to America’s dumbest judge, Lu Ann Ballew, a child support magistrate in rural Cocke County, Tenn. who ruled that an eight-month-old boy could not be named “Messiah” despite the fact that both parents had chosen that first name.

A judge higher up in the legal food chain promptly overruled Ballew. (RELATED: Dumb judge’s dumb ruling outlawing baby’s name overturned)

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