Knowing your rights and responsibilities as a homeschooler is always a necessary component to living and learning in your community. A few years ago, one New York family learned the consequences the hard way. After emotional and expensive months of upheaval, the charges against them were dropped. Now Margie Cressy is again going through the court system filing a civil rights lawsuit against Montgomery County, former Sheriff Department Investigator William Gilston and Sheriff Michael Amato. The lawsuit specifies violation of the Fourth and Fourteenth Constitutional Amendments.
GLEN : Home–schooling mother sues after facing charges The Daily Gazette – John Enger
In the months that followed, Cressy claims, both Gilston and Sheriff Michael Amato made a series of knowingly false statements to the media before the case was dismissed.
She quoted an interview with the Gloversville Leader-Herald newspaper in which Amato said that Cressy “knowingly did not file the required paperwork with the local school district for seven years and could not provide adequate proof that the education of their children had taken place.”
She says these allegations were obviously not true, were dismissed by the courts and “were motivated by bad faith and malice.”
A Leader-Herald article [Mother Sues County – Arthur Cleveland] describing the lawsuit filed December 21 states this:
According to the complaint, former sheriff’s investigator William Gilston had threatened to “make an example” out of the family during the investigation, insulted those who home-schooled their children, and refused to meet the four children when offered the chance to meet them for an interview.
The local school superintendent contacted the Department of Social Services and in 2009, charges were filed against Margie and Richard Cressy, who homeschool their four boys. In New York, homeschoolers are required to file notification forms with the local school district, along with a syllabus and quarterly reports. For this Illinois homeschooler, these regulations sound like an utter nightmare, with no perceived learning benefits for the children. Homeschoolers keep good track of their children’s educational progress and it is often done in an effective, but non-institutional manner.
But it is New York law. Onerous as it is.
Below is more information regarding the Cressy family situation. The 2009 arrest drew national attention, as noted here at News & Commentary: Arrest Story Goes Viral
Sheriff Michael Amato’s letter to the Leader Herald.
Charges Dismissed Leader-Herald Amanda Whistle
Parents found to be properly home-schooling four kids Judge tosses neglect case – Daily Gazette Edward Munger Jr