Homeschooling parents sue NJ $60M for "home intrusion"

Image 1 of 8

A New Jersey family has sued New Jersey for $60 million, calling an investigation into their homeschool practices a "home intrusion".

The Zimmers say the state violated their civil rights when a social worker from New Jersey's Department of Children and Families demanded to be let into their Belvidere home back in January.

"I wouldn't let her in the house, but then she told me I had ten minutes or else," said Chris Zimmer.

Zimmer and his wife Nicole said they feared that their son would be taken away if they didn't let the social worker inside, despite the worker never showing a badge or a warrant.

The visit reportedly came because of an anonymous tip.

For the next two hours, the family says that the social worker proceeded to quiz them on everything from their son's homeschool curriculum to questions about his medical records and family's guns.

The social worker also questioned their 15-year-old son if his parents beat him. This was allegedly about home school education.

She also asked the son about his relationship with the guns, demanded to see them, and then attempted to break into their safe to see how easy the son could access the guns.

The Zimmers' son does hold a license to hunt with his father.

"If the state trusts my son to walk around the woods with a gun, I can trust him in the house with a gun," said Mr. Zimmer.

"We live paycheck to paycheck. We have a small house. We don't live outside of our means," added Mrs. Zimmer, "We don't need to the government coming in and telling us what we're doing wrong. We just want to be left alone."

Under New Jersey laws, homeschooled curriculum doesn’t have to be approved or monitored by a local school board and the law also doesn’t require homeschooling parents to keep records of their education materials, which are two key components of this lawsuit.

The case is still awaiting trial. New Jersey's Department of Children and Families has dismissed the allegations.