Homeschooled Girl Ordered to Attend Public School Over Her 'Rigid' Faith

Amanda Kurowski is a 10-year-old homeschooled girl who performs well academically and is socially well-adjusted. But her strong Christian beliefs were reason enough for a New Hampshire court to order her out of homeschooling and into a public school.

The daughter of divorced parents, Amanda has been homeschooled by her mother, Brenda Voydatch since first grade. Her father, Martin Kurowski, is opposed to homeschooling, arguing that it prevents “adequate socialization” for Amanda with other children. He requested that she be placed in a government school.

In the process of renegotiating the terms of a parenting plan for the girl, the Guardian ad Litem – who acts as a fact finder for the court – reported that Amanda was found to “lack some youthful characteristics,” partly because “she appeared to reflect her mother’s rigidity on questions of faith.”

The GAL concluded that Amanda “would be best served by exposure to different points of view at a time in her life when she must begin to critically evaluate multiple systems of belief and behavior and cooperation in order to select, as a young adult, which of those systems will best suit her own needs.”

Although there is no dispute that Amanda is excelling academically and is generally interactive with her peers, her religious beliefs were seen as being held a bit too sincerely, Alliance Defense Fund allied attorney John Anthony Simmons explained to The Christian Post. “What this has become is an assault on the child’s faith,” Simmons said.

Judge Lucinda V. Sadler approved the GAL’s recommendation earlier this summer and ruled that it would be in Amanda’s best interests to attend a public school in the 2009-2010 academic year.

“[E]ducation is by its nature an exploration and examination of new things,” the court order reads. “[A] child requires academic, social, cultural, and physical interaction with a variety of experiences, people, concepts, and surroundings in order to grow to an adult who can make intelligent decisions about how to achieve a productive and satisfying life.”

Sadler stated in the order that the court did not consider the merits of Amanda’s religious beliefs but only the impact of those beliefs on her interaction with others. And while the court is “extremely reluctant to impose on parents a decision about a child’s education,” Sadler noted that there was an absence of effective communication between the parents.

Simmons filed a motion this week asking the court to reconsider and stay its decision. He contends that the mother enrolled Amanda in three public school courses and got her involved in extra-curricular activities such as gymnastics and softball in an effort to acknowledge the father’s concerns.

Evidence also reveals that homeschooling has not deprived Amanda of socialization, as the father has argued. The order issued by the court also acknowledged that Amanda is “generally likeable and well liked, social and interactive with her peers, academically promising and intellectually at or superior to grade level.”

“Parents have a fundamental right to make educational choices for their children. In this case specifically, the court is illegitimately altering a method of education that the court itself admits is working,” Simmons stated. “It is not the court’s role to decide whose beliefs are right or whether or not someone is as skeptical as the court thinks she should be.”

“Can anyone imagine a court ordering a child out of a government school and into homeschooling because the child is a ‘rigid’ secularist? Of course not,” he noted. “The court has intruded on the child’s most fundamental liberties and should reconsider this unconstitutional encroachment.”


Unfortunately, this kind of fights happens when parents are divorced. And I must say that the father has also a right, a say, on how his child must be educated. It is not the mother´s choice only. In this case, I would go with the court decision and would teach the faith at home and at church.

I think the headline is a bit misleading. It left me with the impression of the government arbitrarily targeting Christian homeschoolers and forcing them into public schools. :eek:

What seems to be happening is that a (divorced) mother and father are disagreeing about how to educate their child and have taken this issue to court. The statements about the concern over her “rigid beliefs” most likely originated from the father, not the court. It’s unfortunate that the courts are involved at all, but I suppose they have to come down on one side or the other. It doesn’t surprise me that they come down in favor of the public schools. :shrug:

Well, at least I can breathe easieir knowing the government isn’t planning on coming after my kids, if and when we start home-schooling. :o

That is pretty much what happened, yes.

“First they came for the Communists, and I didn’t speak up, because I wasn’t a Communist. Then they came for the Jews, and I didn’t speak up, because I wasn’t a Jew. Then they came for the Catholics, and I didn’t speak up, because I was a Protestant. Then they came for me, and by that time there was no one left to speak up for me.”

  • Martin Niemöller.

Not really. The way the West is heading, it won’t be long before Christians are treated the same way as in Cuba, China, or eventually North Korea.

If this decision can’t be overturned, there’s always “skipping school” - and eventually someone needs to help this family into hiding…

The family is divided on the issue, which is why the courts were brought in to decide the matter. The girl’s parents are divorced. Mom has custody but agreed to making joint decisions with her ex-husband, the child’s father. He opposed homeschooling from the start, but mom homeschooled against his wishes for several years.

I’m a homeschooler and don’t take lightly with courts intruding on parenting and homeschooling. But in supporting parental rights, I believe fathers have a right to some say in their children’s education too. Too bad the girl’s parents couldn’t get along and abide by their prior commitments–first and foremost the commitment “til death do us part” and when that didn’t work out, the divorce agreement to make major parenting decisions together. Instead they fought each other in the courts, and the judge made some unneccessary anti-religious statements to back his decision to side with the dad’s request to place his daughter in public school.

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