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December 19, 2011

Quebec Court Case Update

Our appeal on behalf of the homeschooling family in Quebec continues to wind its way through the appeal courts. Last year, the parents were ordered to send their older children to school and the younger children to daycare. To read a history of the case click here and here.

Over the summer, HSLDA worked with the family to get them approved for homeschooling as well as keep their younger children at home. This was successful and the children have spent this fall learning at home.

Given that Youth Protection Services (YPS) has granted this approval and that the family really isn't doing anything that different from the year they were previously homeschooling, it's hard to see how YPS can justify their original allegations that the children were in need of protection. We therefore chose to appeal the decision because of the dangerous precedent it set for homeschoolers in general, and to ensure that this family's choice to homeschool was not further violated.

Early this fall, we presented the first of our arguments to the Superior Court on appeal.  One of the central issues was that the trial judge refused to hear our evidence and consequently was unable to understand the true situation of the family. This was apparent in the judgement which described the family in negative terms, which we believe were unfair and incorrect.

Unfortunately, the Superior Court has now also refused to hear our evidence. While the appeal is ongoing, this interim decision will prejudice the outcome of the Court's decision. We have consequently initiated an appeal of this interim decision to the next highest court, the Court of Appeal, asking them to overturn this decision and force the Superior Court to receive this evidence. Our appeal has been presented before three judges of the Court of Appeal and we are awaiting their decision. If we win on this point, we are back to Superior Court with our expert witness.

Please keep this case in your prayers. The road to justice in Canada can wind up and down through the courts, taking a great deal of time and money.  Yet it is critical that we hold school boards and YPS accountable to ensure that parents maintain the right to choose what is best for their children. The message needs to be sent out loud and clear that home education has nothing to do with social services, unless there is reason to believe, and evidence provided, that the children are being neglected or abused.

Doubtless you are aware of the enormous costs involved in these procedures and we thank you for your continued support on behalf of this family. Please consider making an end of year donation to help with the ongoing costs of this case. Your tax-deductible donation to CCHE would be a tremendous blessing.

May God richly bless you this Christmas season.
Paul D. Faris

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