Expatica news

Home school couple face jail time and loss of custody

20 March 2008

JEREZ – A couple in the southern province of Cádiz could lose custody of their 11-year-old son and face up to three years in prison for deciding to educate the boy at home rather than in the public school system, local officials and the family’s lawyer disclosed this week.

The case was filed against the parents by the town hall of Sanlúcar de Barrameda after officials noticed that the child had "never been admitted to any school." His parents, whose identity has not been made public, had refused to respond to requests for a meeting with local education officials to determine the child’s level of schooling.

Under Spanish legislation, all children between the ages of six and 16 must be educated at a recognised public or private school – a law long opposed by parents who wish to home school their children regardless if for religious or ideological reasons or simply because they believe they can offer a better education. The couple in Sanlúcar are members of the ALE association which has campaigned for parents to have the right to home-school in Spain.

The family’s lawyer, José Antonio Salazar, said that the boy received lessons from a private tutor at home but also mixed with other children his age at regular guitar lessons. "They think the education they offer at home is better than that offered at school," Salazar said.

[Copyright EL PAÍS / ANA HUGUET 2008]