Swanson vs Guthrie, Dr. William Allan Kritsonis, Educational Laws & Policies, Public School Law

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<ul><li><p>8/14/2019 Swanson vs Guthrie, Dr. William Allan Kritsonis, Educational Laws &amp; Policies, Public School Law</p><p> 1/8</p><p>William Allan Kritsonis, PhD</p><p>Professor</p><p>Public School Law &amp; Educational Laws and Policies</p><p>HYBRID LEARNING</p><p>INTRODUCTION</p><p>The term hybrid learninghas evolved in recent time to incorporate many different</p><p>definitions. It is currently most often used to refer to a mixed teaching environment where a</p><p>portion of the class is taught traditionally, with face to face instruction, and a second portion is</p><p>taught electronically, via online chat rooms and discussions. In the home school setting, hybridlearning refers to teaching the student in the home school setting and also teaching them in the</p><p>traditional public school setting for a limited number, of often specialized, courses. It can also</p><p>refer to the religious education given at home and the athletic or elective, secular, education</p><p>given at school. The aim of many religious based home schooling parents is to limit the contact</p><p>of their students with negative, secular influences which may interfere with their eternal</p><p>salvation.</p><p>For the purpose of this report, we will focus on hybrid learning in the home school</p><p>setting. Quite often, parents choose to home school their children for a variety of reasons. Once</p><p>children reach a certain age, especially those looking forward to attending college, parents often</p><p>feel that some courses (choir, band, foreign languages, and laboratory science courses to name a</p><p>few) are better taught in the public school setting utilizing available resources. This places school</p><p>districts in a financial predicament; if the student only attends classes for one or two class</p><p>periods then the school district is providing services without receiving funding for the student</p><p>due to attendance and constitutional accountability rules and expectations. School districts also</p><p>often look to retain students full time due to state constitutional obligations. This report will</p><p>explore the obligation of the school district to provide educational services.</p><p>Case One</p><p>United States Court of Appeals,</p><p>United States Supreme Court</p><p>State of Wisconsin</p><p>v.</p><p>Jonas Yoder, Wallace Miller, and Adin Yutzy</p><p>1</p></li><li><p>8/14/2019 Swanson vs Guthrie, Dr. William Allan Kritsonis, Educational Laws &amp; Policies, Public School Law</p><p> 2/8</p><p>Docket No. 70-110</p><p>Opinion: 406 U.S. 205 (1972)</p><p>LITIGANTS</p><p>Plaintiff Appelant: State of Wisconsin, et. al</p><p>Defendant Appellee: Jonas Yoder, Wallace Miller, and Adin Yutzy</p><p>BACKGROUND</p><p>James Yoder and William Miller ,who were members of the Old Order Amish religion,</p><p>and respondent Adin Yutzy, a member of the Conservative Amish Mennonite Church, were</p><p>accused of violating Wisconsins compulsory school attendance law which required them to sendtheir children to school until the age of sixteen. All three families resided in Green County,</p><p>Wisconsin. The respondents refused to send their children to school beyond the eighth grade</p><p>fearing for the eternal salvation of their children and themselves. The school district ticketed and</p><p>fined the families because they had not enrolled their children in school for their ninth gradeyear. The families were charged, tried, and convicted for violating compulsory school</p><p>attendance and received a fine of five dollars each. The families refuted the charges saying theirfirst and fourteenth Amendment rights were violated. The Wisconsin v Yoder case is repeatedly</p><p>referenced in home school legal arguments as the only case decided in favor of home school</p><p>education.</p><p>FACTS</p><p>Respondents, members of the Old Order Amish religion and the Conservative AmishMennonite Church, were convicted of violating Wisconsin's compulsory school attendance law</p><p>(which requires a child's school attendance until age 16) by declining to send their children to</p><p>public or private school after they had graduated from the eighth grade. The evidence showedthat the Amish provide continuing informal vocational education to their children designed to</p><p>prepare them for life in the rural Amish community. The evidence also showed that respondents</p><p>sincerely believed that high school attendance was contrary to the Amish religion and way oflife, and that they would endanger their own salvation and that of their children by complying</p><p>with the law. The State Supreme Court sustained respondents' claim that application of the</p><p>compulsory school attendance law to them violated their rights under the Free Exercise Clause of</p><p>the First Amendment, made applicable to the States by the Fourteenth Amendment.</p><p>DECISION</p><p>There is no doubt as to the power of a State, having a high responsibility for education ofits citizens, to impose reasonable regulations for the control and duration of basic education.</p><p>Providing public schools ranks at the very apex of the function of a State. Yet even this</p><p>paramount responsibility was, inPierce, made to yield to the right of parents to provide anequivalent education in a privately operated system. There the Court held that Oregon's statute</p><p>compelling attendance in a public school from age eight to age 16 unreasonably interfered with</p><p>the interest of parents in directing the rearing of their offspring, including their education in</p><p>church-operated schools. As that case suggests, the values of parental direction of the religious</p><p>2</p></li><li><p>8/14/2019 Swanson vs Guthrie, Dr. William Allan Kritsonis, Educational Laws &amp; Policies, Public School Law</p><p> 3/8</p><p>upbringing and education of their children in their early and formative years have a high place in</p><p>our society. Thus, a State's interest in universal education, however highly we rank it, is not</p><p>totally free from a balancing process when it impinges on fundamental rights and interests, suchas those specifically protected by the Free Exercise Clause of the First Amendment, and the</p><p>traditional interest of parents with respect to the religious upbringing of their children so long as</p><p>they "prepare [them] for additional obligations."It follows that in order for Wisconsin to compel school attendance beyond the eighth</p><p>grade against a claim that such attendance interferes with the practice of a legitimate religious</p><p>belief, it must appear either that the State does not deny the free exercise of religious belief by itsrequirement, or that there is a state interest of sufficient magnitude to override the interest</p><p>claiming protection under the Free Exercise Clause.... The essence of all that has been said and</p><p>written on the subject is that only those interests of the highest order and those not otherwise</p><p>served can overbalance legitimate claims to the free exercise of religion. We can accept it assettled, therefore, that, however strong the State's interest in universal compulsory education, it is</p><p>by no means absolute to the exclusion or subordination of all other interests.</p><p>DICTA</p><p>Contrary to the suggestion of the dissenting opinion of MR. JUSTICE DOUGLAS, ourholding today in no degree depends on the assertion of the religious interest of the child as</p><p>contrasted with that of the parents. It is the parents who are subject to prosecution here for failing</p><p>to cause their children to attend school, and it is their right of free exercise, not that of their</p><p>children, that must determine Wisconsin's power to impose criminal penalties on the parent. Thedissent argues that a child who expresses a desire to attend public high school in conflict with the</p><p>wishes of his parents should not be prevented from doing so. There is no reason for the Court to</p><p>consider that point since it is not an issue in the case. The children are not parties to thislitigation. The State has at no point tried this case on the theory that respondents were preventing</p><p>their children from attending school against their expressed desires, and indeed the record is to</p><p>the contrary. The State's position from the outset has been that it is empowered to apply itscompulsory-attendance law to Amish parents in the same manner as to other parents - that is,</p><p>without regard to the wishes of the child. That is the claim we reject today.</p><p>For the reasons stated we hold, with the Supreme Court of Wisconsin, that the First and</p><p>Fourteenth Amendments prevent the State from compelling respondents to cause their children to</p><p>attend formal high school to age 16. Affirmed.</p><p>MR. JUSTICE DOUGLAS, dissenting in part.</p><p>I agree with the Court that the religious scruples of the Amish are opposed to the</p><p>education of their children beyond the grade schools, yet I disagree with the Court's conclusionthat the matter is within the dispensation of parents alone. The Court's analysis assumes that the</p><p>only interests at stake in the case are those of the Amish parents on the one hand, and those of</p><p>the State on the other. The difficulty with this approach is that, despite the Court's claim, theparents are seeking to vindicate not only their own free exercise claims, but also those of their</p><p>high-school-age children. It is the future of the student, not the future of the parents, that is</p><p>imperiled by today's decision. If a parent keeps his child out of school beyond the grade school,</p><p>then the child will be forever barred from entry into the new and amazing world of diversity that</p><p>3</p></li><li><p>8/14/2019 Swanson vs Guthrie, Dr. William Allan Kritsonis, Educational Laws &amp; Policies, Public School Law</p><p> 4/8</p><p>we have today. The child may decide that that is the preferred course, or he may rebel. It is the</p><p>student's judgment, not his parents', that is essential if we are to give full meaning to what we</p><p>have said about the Bill of Rights and of the right of students to be masters of their own destiny.If he is harnessed to the Amish way of life by those in authority over him and if his education is</p><p>truncated, his entire life may be stunted and deformed. The child, therefore, should be given an</p><p>opportunity to be heard before the State gives the exemption which we honor today. The viewsof the two children in question were not canvassed by the Wisconsin courts. The matter should</p><p>be explicitly reserved so that new hearings can be held on remand of the case.</p><p>IMPLICATIONS</p><p>Wisconsin v. Yoderinterpreted the Free Exercise Clause by constructing a three-part test</p><p>intended to balance state educational interests against the interests of religious freedom. This</p><p>balancing test marked the height of the move away from the belief-action doctrine established inthe nineteenth century. The decision also impacted debates regarding parental control of their</p><p>children's education.</p><p>The Free Exercise Clause of the First Amendment has posed a challenge to those courtsfaced with conflicts between religion and the government. The clause, which protects the free</p><p>exercise of religion, fails to define religion, leaves its protective parameters unclear, and invites awide range of interpretations. Interpreting free exercise becomes especially tricky--and</p><p>especially important--in a culturally diverse nation such as the United States, when members of a</p><p>religious minority seek exemption from state or federal laws because of their religious beliefs.</p><p>The Court used a three-part test to decide the case. First, it asked whether the religious</p><p>beliefs in question were sincerely held. Secondly, it asked whether state law did in fact seriously</p><p>burden those beliefs. After answering in the affirmative to the first two parts, the Court went onto consider the balance of the state's interests against the free exercise interests of the Amish. It</p><p>determined that in order to rule for the state, state interests had to override religious interests, and</p><p>that there must be no other way for state interests to be met other than to impinge upon religiousfreedom. Here the Court found that the state's interest in educating children to be responsible,</p><p>productive citizens did not override the Amish parents' right to protect their community's</p><p>religious beliefs by keeping their children out of high school.</p><p>The decision in Wisconsin v. Yoderbrought together two areas of legal interpretation:</p><p>parental control over education and the free exercise of religion. Between 1923 and 1927 a series</p><p>of Supreme Court decisions--Meyer v .Nebraska,Pierce v. Society of Sisters, andFarrington v.</p><p>Tokushige--established parents' constitutional right to exert control over their children's</p><p>education, though strictly in a secular context. Yoderintroduced a religious dimension to that</p><p>debate.</p><p>Case Two</p><p>United States Court of Appeals,</p><p>Tenth Circuit.</p><p>4</p></li><li><p>8/14/2019 Swanson vs Guthrie, Dr. William Allan Kritsonis, Educational Laws &amp; Policies, Public School Law</p><p> 5/8</p><p>ANNIE SWANSON, et al, Plaintiffs-Appellants,</p><p>v.GUTHRIE INDEPENDENT SCHOOL DISTRICT NO. I-L, Defendants-Appellees</p><p>No. 96-6354</p><p>LITIGANTS</p><p>Plaintiffs Appellants: ANNIE SWANSON, by and through her parents and next friends,</p><p>DENNIS SWANSON and LUCY SWANSON</p><p>Defendant Appellee: GUTHRIE INDEPENDENT SCHOOL DISTRICT</p><p>BACKGROUND</p><p>Annie has been home-schooled by her parents since she started school. WhenAnnie reached the seventh grade, her parents decided that she would benefit by taking a few</p><p>classes at the public school. Annie's parents believed the public school's ability to teach certainclasses (particularly foreign-language classes, vocal music, and some science classes) was</p><p>superior to their instructional capability in those areas, and that attending some classes at the</p><p>public school would better prepare Annie for college. The Guthrie School Board policy is as</p><p>follows:</p><p>"It is the policy of the Guthrie Board of Education that all students</p><p>enrolling in Guthrie Public Schools must do so on a full-time basis.Full-time basis shall be defined as attending classes for the full</p><p>instructional day within the public school system or in conjunction</p><p>with another state accredited institution such as vocational-technical school or a college or university for concurrent</p><p>enrollment. The only exceptions to this policy shall be for fifth-</p><p>year seniors and special education students whose IEP's requirevariations of student schedules."</p><p>Annie's parents spoke to the then-superintendent of schools and received permission for</p><p>her to attend two seventh-grade classes for the last nine weeks of the school year. She attendedthose classes, performed very well in them, and caused no disruption to the school system. Annie</p><p>then pre-registered for two classes for the eighth grade. Before she began school, however,</p><p>Defendant Bowman was hired as the new superintendent. He refused to allow Annie to attend theeighth grade on a part-time basis, and told her parents they would need permission from the</p><p>school board. He also made some statements that Mrs. Swanson interpreted as criticism of</p><p>Christian home-schoolers.</p><p>He Board confirmed their policy but did add the following sentence: "In the event the</p><p>State Department of Education advises us that part-time students can be counted for state aid</p><p>purposes, the Board will reconsider this policy." The board's president also made a public</p><p>5</p></li><li><p>8/14/2019 Swanson vs Guthrie, Dr. William Allan Kritsonis, Educational Laws &amp; Policies, Public School Law</p><p> 6/8</p><p>statement concerning the issue, noting the board's...</p></li></ul>