By: Andy Alcock
October 4, 2013
Tallahassee, FL - A mother and father who say they're sending their children to a non-traditional private school are each facing criminal charges for failing to enroll those children in school.
"We chose to be in a home schooling type community because that's what we believe that we were supposed to do for our family," said Kristina Spell.
Kristina is the mother of 8 children.
Some of them could now attend DeSoto Trail Elementary School.
But she and her husband Steven are part of a group of parents home schooling their children under the administration of a non-traditional private school.
In 2011 when the Spells lived in Gadsden County, five of their children were school aged.
Instead of enrolling the children in that sub par school system, the Spells decided on the different course.
When Kristina's mother-in-law complained, a criminal case was born.
"She didn't agree with home schooling to begin with," said Kristina.
According to court records, the Spell children are not properly registered.
After a review by Leon County Schools Superintendent Jackie Pons and State Attorney Willie Meggs, a decision was made to prosecute.
Court records also claim mutilple contacts by Leon County Schools administrators to get the necessary supporting documents for the Spell chidlren's education all yielded negative results.
"We were legally under the private school which was legally registered with the department of education," said Kristina.
Kristina points to a sworn statement by one of those administrators noting her children's school appeared to be legitimate and all necessary reports were filed.
"I believe that government has overstepped its bounds so far, that if this sets precedent, it's a very scary, scary thing," she said.
Kristina Spell is facing ten misdeanor charges for violating school attendance and attendance records law.
Her husband Steven faces five charges.
State Attorney Willie Meggs calls the case a compliance issue.
"The schools are obligated to see kids are educated," said Meggs.
The Spells trial starts next month.