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Judge Confirms Constitutional Right to Homeschool

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Judge Stephen Dillard

Judge Stephen Dillard
Credit: Twitter/Judge Stephen Dillard

by Joe Wolverton, II, Tenth Amendment Center

A concurring opinion published in a case decided recently by the Georgia Court of Appeals asserts that parents have a constitutionally protected right to homeschool their children.

In his concurring opinion in the child-custody case of Borgers v. Borgers, Judge Stephen Dillard, chief judge of the Georgia Court of Appeals, delivered an impassioned and erudite defense of absolute parental sovereignty over their children’s training.

“The liberty interest of parents to direct the upbringing, education, and care of their children is the most ancient of the fundamental rights we hold as a people,” Judge Dillard declared.

Dillard’s concurrence continued in an equally compelling tone:

This cherished right derives from the natural order, preexists government, and may not be interfered with by the State except in the most compelling circumstances. And while I agree with the majority that the trial court lacked the authority to alter the parties’ custody agreement in this contempt action, I write separately to express my serious concerns with the court’s decision to summarily substitute its judgment regarding the child’s education for the mother’s without identifying evidence of the compelling circumstances necessary to interfere with her constitutional parental rights. In doing so, the trial court failed to give sufficient consideration to the federal and Georgia constitutions, both of which afford significant protection of a parent’s right to the care, custody, and control of his or her child — which undoubtedly includes the right to make educational decisions.

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© 2018 Tenth Amendment Center

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