October 21, 2003

Jury Duty and Homeschooling... A woman on one of my homeschool listservs just got called for jury duty again (she was able to delay once) she is homeschooling an older child and nursing an infant and is still expected to serve out her jury duty.

Now don't get me wrong I am a strong supporter of civic involvement of all Americans and think that jury duty is an important responsibility that should be done by all Americans (myself included) however there are times in ones life that it is more suitable to serve and times when you should be able to get reasonable exceptions. In my mind a nursing mother should be exempted for a variety of reasons, but especially because it would be medically inadvisable for a nursing mother to be separated from her child for that long for the health of both mother and child. Not to mention the obvious attachment and general caregiver issues that arise. However I was saddened to see that only 4 states have laws on the books exempting nursing mothers and only 1 state (florida) has a law exempting primary caregivers of young children.

I consulted the HSLDA website and found that there are no laws that would directly help a parent be exempted from juror duty. They do offer some suggestions on how one might get out of it or delay it for awhile.

So several local mothers have decided to get together to attempt to create statewide "Family Friendly" jury duty laws. I will throw my support and help behind them. I encourage all of you to think this issue through and consider starting ones in your own state. Atleast think through what you would do if the slip of paper came in your mailbox tomorrow.

Some resources to consult:
Family Friendly Jury Duty
What is Family Friendly Jury Duty
Why We Need Family-Friendly Jury Duty

Public Policy Update: Family-Friendly Jury Duty


1 comment:

  1. This site is kind of old. But I noticed on my California Jury Duty notification that now (2013)there appears to be the ability to request for an exemption for: breastfeeding mothers, caregivers for children under 12, and those caring for disabled or elderly individuals. This is probably at least in part because of those who fought for these exemptions. Thank you to those who have. My concern is there is still no way that I know of to be exempted for home educator parents. This poses a problem because of the child care issues. There seems to be a presupposition that parents have the luxury of free child care (aka public schools, etc.) If I am gone there is no parent available to educate my children unless my spouse misses a day of work. We do not have parents or family nearby to watch our children or the money for child care, when we can barely afford food. So I had to request to bow out for financial reasons. However I did not wish to lie and say I am simply unemployed, though I am unemployed because that would not explain why I would be needed at home to teach my children who are both over 12. So I told the court I am a home educator. I'm now wondering did I do the right thing, though I know I told the truth. I'm wondering what responce I will get from the County of Ventura. Worse comes to worse, my husband may be able to use a vacation day. It is still a disruption for our usual school day routine, having a "substitute" teacher.