Home School or Public School? NH High Court Steps into Dispute Between Warring Parents
Posted Mar 17, 2011 7:31 AM CDT
By Debra Cassens Weiss
When divorced parents Martin and Brenda Kurowski could not agree on how to educate their daughter, a New Hampshire judge made a decision.
The girl would attend public school, the option favored by her father, the judge ruled. On Wednesday, the state supreme court affirmed the decision, the Nashua Telegraph reports.
Both parents had joint parenting authority, and they had equal constitutional rights, the state supreme court said in its opinion (PDF posted by the Nashua Telegraph). Although Brenda Kurowski claimed her preference for home schooling was grounded in her religious beliefs, the case is not about religion, the court said.
“Our only role is to decide whether the trial court committed legal error or unsustainably exercised its discretion,” the court said. “In the context of a divorce, the trial court has the authority to adjudicate disputes between two fit parents involving parental rights in accordance with the child’s best interests.”
Brenda Kurowski had claimed home schooling was the better choice for her daughter, arguing that the girl was having "extreme difficulty" during a one-year trial period of some public school classes. Martin Kurowski, on the other hand, had argued that home schooling was isolating his daughter from her peers and shielding her from viewpoints that would make her more willing to accept differences in his home.