Josilyn Goodall, a homeschooling mom in Worcester County, Massachusetts filed a Federal lawsuit in November, 2018, against the Worcester public school authorities and the school her son was attending before she decided to homeschool him.
Ms. Goodall claims that the school ignored her submission of an instructional plan and advisement that she was homeschooling her son. She alleges they continued to mark him absent and notified the Worcester school department, which in turn, notified state officials, ultimately resulting in an investigator from the state Department of Children and Families contacting her. She explained the situation to the investigator by e-mail, but police came to her house and arrested her, interviewed her son and searched their home, but in the end no charges were filed against Ms. Goodall.
The lawsuit’s Complaint accuses the Worcester schools of violating state law by requiring homeschooling parents to get the district’s approval before removing a child from school. The Defendants have requested that Goodall’s suit be dismissed and their responsive pleadings state that it is “well-established in the First Circuit and Massachusetts state courts, that a school district has clear authority to require approval of a homeschool plan prior to the removal of children from public school.” Of course, that would also require a timely approval by the authorities, which Goodall alleges was not forthcoming and is the hub of the controversy. Other homeschooling families are on record as stating that the authorities have not been timely in their approval of a homeschooling plan for the families.
Goodall is seeking unspecified damages, as well as asking the court to impose a permanent injunction on the Worcester School Department, blocking it from forcing students to continue attending school while the district reviews and approves the homeschooling plan. The District has stated that it will streamline and speed up the process of review and approval in the immediate future.