New Hampshire court orders home-schooled girl into public school

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LACONIA, N.H. — The Alliance Defense Fund (ADF) has asked a New Hampshire court to reconsider its decision to order a 10-year-old homeschooled girl into public school.

"Parents have a fundamental right to make educational choices for their children," said ADF-allied attorney John Anthony Simmons. "In this case, the court is illegitimately altering a method of education that the court itself admits is working."

The parents, Martin Kurowski and Brenda Voydatch, are divorced. The couple split in 1999 when they were living in Massachusetts, and the proceedings moved to New Hampshire after Voydatch relocated there with her daughter, Amanda, in 2002.

Voydatch has primary custody over the 10-year-old daughter. The mother wanted to homeschool while the father believes she should be sent to public school. The decision has become a court issue since the parents have failed to reach common ground concerning Amanda's education.

During an evaluation, it was determined that the daughter was doing well and was using curriculum approved by the school district. Amanda attended the local public school for art, Spanish and physical education classes and the school educators stated that the daughter was well-rounded in her social skills.

In the process of renegotiating the terms of a parenting plan for the girl, the court appointed guardian ad litem concluded that the girl "appeared to reflect her mother's rigidity on questions of faith" and that the girl's interests "would be best served by exposure to a public school setting." Judge Lucinda V. Sadler approved the recommendation and issued the order July 14.

"The New Hampshire Supreme Court itself has specifically declared, 'Home education is an enduring American tradition and right,'" said ADF Senior Legal Counsel Mike Johnson. "There is clearly and without question no legitimate legal basis for the court's decision, and we trust it will reconsider its conclusions."

Mike Donnelly, staff attorney at the Home School Legal Defense Association, agreed this is "not the place for the courts to be inserting themselves."

EP



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