Q. We just started homeschooling, and now I’ve received a summons for jury duty. Part of me feels that I should do my civic duty as a patriot and a Christian, but because I’ll lose so much of my teaching time, it’s a source of concern. Is homeschooling something for which I could be exempted?
A. Jury duty is difficult for most people because of employment. For homeschooling parents, difficulties arise relating to educational and child care responsibilities. We understand the age of your children, available support to care for your children, or extenuating homeschool circumstances may create a hardship.
If this is the case, you may appeal your summons by returning the appropriate form with a letter of explanation.
Point 8 of Virginia Code 8.01-341.1 allows an exemption from jury service upon request as stated below:
Any of the following persons may serve on juries in civil and criminal cases but shall be exempt from jury service upon his request:
8. A person who has legal custody of and is necessarily and personally responsible for a child or children 16 years of age or younger requiring continuous care by him during normal court hours, or any mother who is breast-feeding a child,
If your appeal is denied, you may have the opportunity to address the issue again during the interview process before the presiding judge.
Although exemption from jury duty is possible, participation should be looked upon as a privilege and responsibility. Jury duty is a public duty that can be very informative and can set a good example for your children. It also gives you an opportunity to have a direct impact on your community. When making this decision, each parent must follow his own conscience.