Massachusetts Family Fights for Sick Homeschooled Child


The D family in Massachusetts had intermittently homeschooled their son, Sam, for the past several years through the ups and downs of his battle with Lyme disease. Recently, at their son’s request, the family agreed to re-enroll him in the local middle school. However, his illness made it impossible to maintain consistent attendance. By the end of February Sam’s parents decided to withdraw him from school and homeschool him. They were convinced that the greater flexibility of homeschooling would be better suited to his condition.

However, even though the family had been approved to homeschool previously, this time the superintendent’s office denied their plan. School officials added that they would be filing a petition in court seeking supervision over the family due to truancy.

“We must consider Samuel’s absence from school unlawful and take the necessary steps to report this information to the appropriate authorities,” officials said.

Court Summons

Five days later, the family was summoned to court to respond to the charges of truancy. The family turned to HSLDA for help.

When Michael Donnelly, HSLDA attorney for Massachusetts member affairs, made contact with the district’s superintendent he discovered the main concerns were Sam’s course load and specifics regarding his medical condition.

Donnelly negotiated more time for the family to revise their homeschool plan and to get letters from Sam’s doctor. Donnelly and HSLDA’s Massachusetts Legal Assistant Claire Rossell worked with the family to assemble the materials.

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Source: HSLDA | Staff Attorney Mike Donnelly protects homeschool freedom in Massachusetts. He and his wife homeschool.

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