Utah Judge Scott Johansen: The Homeschool Nazi?

"No homeschool for you!"

It's not something that the Deseret News seemed to pick up on. Nor could I find anything about it on the Salt Lake Tribune's web site. A similar search of KSL.com yielded no results either. In what appears to be a very important news story, Judge Scott Johansen has ordered (former) Utah resident Denise Mafi to enroll her kids in the public school or lose custody of them. Does anyone know anything more about this?

There must be more to the story than WorldNetDaily is reporting, but a Utah mother has fled Utah because 7th District Judge Scott Johansen has threatened to take her kids away from her if she does not enroll them in public schools. Her crime? Not sending in her required homeschool plan to the school district for the 2006-07 school year.

She says she did one better than that--she faxed the plan to the district.
"This is all because the school district says they never received my 2006-2007 homeschool affidavit. I have a copy of the signed affidavit. I have already received my exemption for the 2007-2008 school year," she said.
Apparently, Judge Johansen has been publicly critical of home schooling.
"The judge is very anti-homeschooling. Stated last week that homeschool was a failure. I am a total nervous wreck," [Mafi] said.
I know that judges have the disadvantage of not being allowed to give their side of such issues. But if the facts are as they are stated on WorldNetDaily, Judge Johansen should be disbarred.

Parents should have choice in their children's education. Not district judges.


  1. There's something weird and/or left out in this story. In the first installment, WND awkwardly says: "So when she went to court with her juvenile son to have the charges dismissed (under a case held in abeyance procedure) stemming from a clash among children"

    What kind of "clash among children" had her son been involved in, which brought him to the attention of the juvenile justice system? Because if the boy had been inadequately supervised, that would be very pertinent to a judge ruling that the boy must be enrolled and physically attend school.

  2. Go to this link and scroll down, this person reposted a comment Ms. Mafi gave in regards to the inital reason for the court appearance. I hope this clears up any confusion.

  3. http://principleddiscovery.com/?p=739 Sorry. that's the link.

  4. Having a copy of the signed affidavit doesn't prove that it was faxed (or that it even existed at the time). She knew it was important to document her alleged compliance; where's the fax transmission sheet?

  5. VOU,

    According to her, however, she had already received compliance approval for the 2007-08 year.

    I'm not sure why they'd be going back and worrying about the year before. It's almost time for her to submit her 2008-09 plan.

  6. Frank,
    it looks like her filing to homeschool the previous year was relevant because she and her son were in court to show they had fulfilled the requirements of an abeyance procedure. One of the requirements was to do well in school during that interim year.

    Dana at Principled Discovery posted on why they were in court.
    Principled Discovery Blog

  7. As Mafi is the only source here, the real story has not been told. Mafi has a history of moving to new locations, not sending her kids to school (because she is too lazy) and then sending in a home-school work plan after her kids are declared truant. In this case, Judge Johansen recognized that Mafi was gaming the system (she had obviously not submitted the work plan) at the expense of her children (who were not being educated at home) and ordered her to get them to school. The home-schooler crowd jumped on the story in favor of Mafi (because she was the only one telling the story as judges are forbidden from commenting on these things).

    In defiance of the order, Mafi fled the state. Although that is good riddance from Utah's perspective, you have to feel bad for the kids (who won't receive an education).


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