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30 Years of Leeper v. Arlington: A Legacy of Homeschool Rights

Join us as we commemorate the 30th anniversary of the pivotal Supreme Court case that transformed homeschooling in America.

Reflecting on Leeper v. Arlington Texas

As we commemorate the 30th anniversary of the landmark Supreme Court case, Leeper v. Arlington Texas, it’s essential to reflect on its significance in shaping constitutional law and parental rights in the United States. This case holds a special place in the hearts of homeschooling families and continues to impact the legal landscape to this day.

The Leeper v. Arlington Texas Supreme Court Case

In the 1980s, the homeschooling movement in the United States faced severe legal challenges. Parents who chose to educate their children at home were often met with hostility and legal repercussions. People we knew were being arrested and threatened with their children being removed from their homes. Parental arrest for homeschooling was happening all around the state, creating an atmosphere of fear and uncertainty for many families.

Against this backdrop of widespread legal harassment, Attorney Shelby Sharpe filed Leeper as a class action case in the 17th District Court of Tarrant County. Sharpe dedicated nearly a decade to this case, fighting tirelessly for the rights of homeschooling families.

The Fight for Parental Rights

The case began as a response to the arrest and prosecution of homeschooling parents in Texas, who were charged with violating compulsory attendance laws. These laws required children to attend public or private schools, with no clear provisions for home education. The ambiguity in the law left many families vulnerable to legal action, as homeschooling was not explicitly recognized as a legitimate form of education because of one attorney’s opinion in the Texas Education Agency.

Attorney Sharpe’s legal strategy focused on challenging the constitutionality of these laws, arguing that historically, homeschooling in Texas had always been allowed, and considered private school. He created a class action lawsuit that sued the TEA and every ISD in the state.

The Landmark Decision

After years of legal battles, the case culminated in a landmark decision that fundamentally changed the landscape for homeschooling in Texas and beyond. The court ruled in favor of the homeschooling families, affirming that parents have a constitutional right to educate their children at home as private schools. This decision effectively recognized homeschooling as a legitimate and legal form of education, providing much-needed legal clarity and protection for families across the state.

Lasting Impact

The significance of Leeper v. Arlington Texas cannot be overstated. This case set a crucial precedent that has influenced numerous other states and contributed to the broader acceptance and legalization of homeschooling nationwide. It underscored the importance of parental rights and set a legal foundation that continues to support the homeschooling movement to this day.

As we celebrate this milestone, it’s important to remember the dedication and perseverance of those who fought for this cause. Their efforts have ensured that parents have the freedom to choose the best educational path for their children without fear of legal repercussions.


Thirty years after the Leeper v. Arlington Texas decision, the homeschooling community continues to thrive and grow, benefiting from the legal protections established by this landmark case. As we reflect on this anniversary, we honor the legacy of those who fought for educational freedom and the enduring impact of their victory on constitutional law and parental rights in the United States.

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