Homeschooling Under Fire

 The Iowa Homeschooling Crisis of 1989-90

 A history of the plot to depict homeschoolers as truants and child abusers


By Lynn and Sarah Leslie



Faithful under fire

This meeting at Easton Baptist took place in early June 1989. The meeting had been called by Iowa homeschool leaders in response to two new threats against the fledgling homeschooling community. The State of Iowa had just launched a two-barreled assault against home education: 


1)      The Supreme Court in Iowa had just rendered an opinion that significantly changed the interpretation of the truancy laws in the case of Barry Bear, a child from Tama, Iowa. No longer would parents simply be charged with truancy under the criminal code. From now on they could be charged as child abusers under the juvenile code.

2)      And, perfectly coinciding with the issuance of this landmark ruling, was a dangerous new bill in the legislature that would codify this change into law, Senate File 149, which was precariously close to passage.


These two events raised the specter that homeschooled children could be declared truants, and being thus classified, could be thrust into the juvenile justice system where they would be treated as juvenile delinquents, and their parents regarded as child abusers.

Iowa’s early history of intolerance

Throughout its history, Iowa has had a dark seam of intolerance of religious diversity in matters of private education. This is due, in part, to the particularly pervasive influence of John Dewey’s educational philosophies during the 1930s and 1940s, especially in the rural areas of Iowa where he experimented upon a generation of school children with his new teaching methodologies. Dewey emphasized socialization with one’s peers as an essential attribute of modern education in order to create a more socialist society. It was thought that children would be irreparably harmed without a State education. ...



The federal encroachment on the family

There was a national push to reform child welfare during the decade of the 1980s. At the top of the agenda was more State intervention in the lives of children and their families. The erosion of the traditional family structure was given as the reason for deeper intrusion into the lives of America’s youngest citizens. An army of social workers, psychologists, social scientists, behaviorists, and political reformers coalesced—churning out documents, holding press conferences, proposing legislation, and writing media stories. A crisis in preschool, child care, health care, and all sorts of family social services was pronounced.


Concurrently, there was a move to reform education by expanding the role of the government school into family lives, developing uniform curricula and testing mechanisms, and adopting federal standards for performance. The school day was tweaked by increasing the number of hours per day, adding days to the school year, and expanding the ages of compulsory attendance.


Education began to be portrayed as just one facet of a vast array of family psycho-social services sponsored by the State—services that were no longer designed simply to protect the neediest children, but also began to intrude into the lives of mainstream families. Homeschooling, and private schools which operated outside of this emerging government “system,” were viewed with animosity and suspicion. Homeschooling was most often depicted in the media in disparaging terms at this time. There was an inference that children were being deprived of adequate peer socialization, isolated, socially inept, and lagging behind their peers.


A prominent leader in the movement to federalize the reform of public education was William Bennett, who headed up the U.S. Department of Education under the Reagan administration during the mid-1980s. Despite his conservative credentials, Bennett proceeded to lay all of the bureaucratic groundwork for the education reform movement that mushroomed across America during the 1990s. Bennett was the first federal official (that we have on record) to make use of the phrase “educational abuse” when referring to private and home education.


This view, which likens homeschooling to the criminal act of child abuse, was to become the pillar upon which Iowa’s homeschool crisis was founded. A corollary view holds that homeschooling parents are potential “closet child abusers,” and that the State must conduct routine surveillance of this atypical, “abnormal” family. Many social reformers held the cynical notion that it was implausible that parents would desire to stay home and educate children out of genuine affection, devotion, and sincere conviction. The nasty inference was made that there must be some sinister ulterior motive for wanting to keep the children at home...


Our personal story


In February 1989, I attended the subsequent JJAC meeting where Dr. Montgomery was permitted to make a presentation about his handout. He claimed that Iowa had a truancy “crisis.” Most of his examples, however, were notably homeschoolers! In fact, Dr. Montgomery asserted that homeschoolers in his district were “closet child-abusers,” and he claimed they were keeping their children home to “babysit” and for other negligible reasons.


Most significantly, Dr. Montgomery reported that there was a bill in the Iowa legislature that would once and for all “solve” the truancy “crisis.” He claimed that he had helped to author this bill, and intimated that there were a number of state and national experts who worked on this bill with him. At the time I thought he was simply bragging, but later we came to realize that this was a much larger plan. If homeschooling in Iowa fell, the rest of the fledgling homeschooling movement in America was supposed to fall like dominoes—eradicating all private home education once and for all. ...


The bill was every bit as bad as I had imagined. It would have required a homeschool family to hire a certified teacher to teach their children 180 days in order to be legal. Other provisions of the bill would bring homeschool families within the provisions of the “child in need of assistance” (CHINA) provisions of the Juvenile Court. The proposed law stated that a truant child “shall” be reported to the county attorney and that the county attorney “shall investigate” the report and “may file” a petition in Juvenile Court. Ultimately, this meant that a child could be removed from his/her parents simply because they teach the child at home. Characteristic of Dr. Montgomery’s remarks at the JJAC, the bill lumped hardened, dysfunctional truant families together with solid, stable homeschool families. If a family, for whatever reason, wasn’t in full compliance with the law, their children could be deemed “truant.” “Truant” was loosely defined as any child not attending a public school or receiving 180 days of instruction elsewhere by a certified teacher—in other words, the overwhelming majority of homeschoolers! ...


The multi-pronged threat

In April 1989, I received a phone call one day from a man named Paul Zylstra. He... told me that there was a bad bill in the legislature that would further erode parental rights. Intrigued, I asked him what that might be. I was shocked when he said S.F. 149. That was the bad homeschool bill! ...


Legislators had been told that the bill had nothing to do with homeschoolers. The official “spin” about the bill was that it would simply solve the perceived “truancy crisis” in Iowa.


That bill was bad enough, but there was more trouble lurking. Paul had noticed a little blurb that had appeared in the January 12, 1989, “State and Capitol Report” section of the Des Moines Register under the caption “Statehouse Briefing: In the House”:


Iowa prosecutors are seeking more power to intervene in truancy cases and have suggested law changes that could give county attorneys more tools to use against fundamentalist Christians who want to teach their children at home.


Recommendations from the Iowa County Attorney’s Association include a change in the state’s juvenile code to add truancy to the list of reasons officials can start proceedings that can lead to removing the child from the home or to terminating the parents’ rights to their child.


Here were our worst fears in print. The County Attorney’s Association (probably working at the instigation of Kathy Collins) was recommending “removing the child from the home” and “terminating the parents’ rights.”


As if that weren’t bad enough, there was another unsettling bill in the Iowa legislature at this same time. House File 690 would create a new category of “mental injury caused by the acts of the child’s parent, guardian, or custodian.” We quickly realized that “mental injury” could be easily connected with the idea of homeschooling as “educational abuse.”


A similar threat loomed in the form of a report which was issued just prior to the 1989 legislative session by the Kempe National Center at the University of Colorado. It recommended that Iowa juvenile laws be revised to make it “easier to remove abused children from their homes and improve procedures for terminating parental custody.” A concurrent report was issued by a state committee of the Department of Human Services. (Des Moines Register articles by William Petroski, “Deficiencies seen in state abuse laws,” 1-7-89, and “Guidelines given for examining children for abuse, 1-5-89.)


...Iowa Department of Education Director William Lepley... was promoting House File 794, which would create an “autonomous” Board of Educational Examiners and Professional Practices Commission, a move which would consolidate power into the hands of an education elite and pave the way for national teacher certification. Would some homeschoolers, who thought they were “safe” because they possessed teaching certificates, find that their credentials would no longer be renewed? The bill contained ominous provisions that required classroom experience. ...


The grim implications


The meeting at Easton Baptist was punctuated by four testimonies by parents who had previously been jailed or harassed by the state of Iowa for homeschooling. Each family spoke of their family’s extreme vulnerability to future prosecution because of unique circumstances and/or previous prosecutions. ...  


Then John Harvey stood up and spoke. He headed the Iowa chapter of Victims of Child Abuse Laws (VOCAL), an advocacy organization that assisted families falsely accused of child abuse. He explained the ramifications of the national child welfare reform agenda, and explained that there was a plan underway to extradite children in the juvenile system from one state to another if they fled. In other words, the time might come when there could be no escape. At this point there was an audible gasp from the audience. A young teen girl, visibly shaken, exclaimed, “Where could we flee then? To another country? This is America!”


In summarizing the meeting at Easton Baptist, I wrote:


Despite of the serious nature of these times, it was remarkable how many new families attended the meeting because of a strong conviction that they must begin homeschooling their children, regardless of the consequences. Some parents wistfully stated that the costs were too great for them to bear at this time, and they had no choice but to put their children back in accredited schools. It was estimated that there are hundreds of Christian families across the state who will be vulnerable to prosecution this next year, and there are hundreds more who are home educating and utilizing a State-certified teacher in a limited capacity to try to avoid prosecution. ...


War starts

On Monday, September 4, 1989, the worst case scenario happened. A headline in a Des Moines Register story read, “School opens in showdown over Iowa education laws.” Henry County Attorney Mike Riepe publicly announced that he would “for the first time, ask a judge to take children away from parents who refuse to comply” with Iowa’s education law. ...


...we organized an underground railway for homeschoolers. We were provided with a secret list of names of families in other states who would be willing to receive our children, and if necessary, raise them as their own. Several older gentlemen (among them a close family friend, David Elrod) stepped forward and offered to risk their own future lives to transport homeschooled children to the borders of Iowa or beyond. They said they would be willing to go to jail for the crime of kidnapping if it came to that. We were also instructed to have our children memorize key phone numbers. We were told to teach our children how to secretly evacuate the house and flee to the nearest telephone or friendly neighbor while the parent detained a social worker or truancy officer at the door.


(How does one teach their child these things? How does one tell a young child that someday, perhaps soon, a bad knock will come to the door and they must flee— they must flee for their life or end up in a stranger’s home, or a group home, or an institution? How can one take away a child’s innocence? The security of a family’s loving arms? How can one possibly describe the horrors of a future life, controlled by the State, possibly in an institution, away from mom and dad, brothers and sisters, church and friends? How can one explain to children that it is very important, that this is more than just a game, to memorize phone numbers, plan an escape route and do practice drills?)



That day (in the mid-1980s), at the meeting in our home, we all had to face a horrific new reality for the coming school year— any family non-compliant with the law for any reason could be deemed truant under the juvenile code. The moratorium had expired. Few families in Iowa could be compliant with the existing law.

 .... An investigation could be initiated by an anonymous tip, a complaint from a school official, a tip from a mandatory reporter, or many others. The investigation stage could be intrusive and exploratory. Asking about forms of discipline, checking to make sure the house is safe, inspecting to see if the dishes in the sink are clean, inquiring with neighbors and friends, and other subjective investigative procedures could be utilized.


... John warned that the State “system” does not tolerate religious diversity. He noted that homeschool families, who often possess divergent cultural and religious beliefs and practices, would not easily accommodate to some of the requirements that could be imposed by the State. Furthermore, he explained that children removed to a foster home or State institution could be exposed to activities, practices and philosophies that run contrary to what they had been taught in their family. Once again, the room grew silent as parents realized the seriousness of the situation.


Foiled attempts


The West family contacted me shortly after the school year began. ... Mrs. West told me that they had fully complied with their school district for years and had experienced no previous problems. They were even using a State-certified teacher. Nevertheless, someone tipped them off that there was a Juvenile Court officer “looking into” their homeschooling. She asked me what that meant. I was able to explain the full ramifications of this situation and warn her of the imminent danger to her family. The family fled the state immediately.


More bad bills

Shortly before the 1990 legislative session, more bad legislation surfaced. The State Board of Education submitted a proposal to the General Assembly for amending Iowa’s compulsory attendance law to include an “alternative for private instruction.” The proposal would create a new chapter in the Iowa Code permitting parents to provide a child’s education in a setting other than a public or accredited nonpublic school by “retaining a state licensed teacher subject to certain limitations.” A child under instruction by a non-licensed instructor would be tested annually and would be required to make “adequate progress or be subject to remediation or removal from private instruction to an accredited school setting.”


Many homeschoolers supported the State Board of Education bill because they felt it would once and for all serve to make homeschooling “legal” in the state of Iowa. They naively assumed that being “legal” would solve all problems and that they would then be “safe.” In all fairness to them, the climate was so fearful in Iowa at the time that some families simply desired to grasp onto any solution that might relieve them of anxiety. ...


In other words, it was very precarious and dangerous time to pass a homeschool bill because of how the courts might define “truancy,” and how the legal remedies for “truancy” might be applied; i.e., child abuse charges. And, if S.F. 149 also passed, it would guarantee that “truancy” would be defined legally as a form of child abuse and subject to the worst punishments imaginable—loss of one’s children.


A division began to arise within the homeschool community. Many held to the position that “anything is better than nothing; take what they give you and run.” ...


The meeting in the Governor’s office

Unity among homeschool leaders began to deteriorate rapidly. By November of 1989, homeschool leaders from various segments of the widening divide were called to a meeting in Governor Branstad’s office. Our group was told that the purpose of the meeting was to forge a consensus on some of the critical issues facing homeschoolers in the upcoming legislative session. Given the growing disunity, we were excited to be a part of this effort. It seemed like a positive development. We looked forward to the opportunity to speak to the Governor one-on-one about our grave concerns.


We were to be sadly disappointed. As the meeting unfolded it became apparent that this was an orchestrated meeting. A legislator, whom we thought was friendly to our cause, presented a prepared homeschool bill which he asked everyone in the room to support. We read the first paragraph. It read the State had a “compelling interest” in the education of our children. Our hearts sank. We understand the legal nuances of that particular legal language and knew we would be signing away our parental rights and freedoms to homeschool. The rest of the bill was basically a re-hash of the State Board of Education’s proposed legislation.... group of homeschoolers would be actively lobbying against another. Our group was characterized as “the handful of radical few” by one of the Governor’s top aides. Other homeschool leaders quickly latched onto that term in a pejorative fashion. That term stuck and it was nearly impossible to overcome the negative stigma. We were ostracized and alienated.


....We were a small remnant of people, hopelessly divided, with no monetary assets, no political clout, no friends in high places, and by all natural appearances, no hope.


Two bright spots during the darkest hours

Preparing for the 1990 legislative session

Shortly before the legislative session starting in January 1990, Paul Zylstra called another meeting at our house. During that meeting we realistically assessed the potential worst-case scenarios that could arise. We fully expected that S.F. 149 would quickly pass in the House in the opening days. It would then be swept off to a conference committee, where if it passed (and we fully expected that it would pass), it would then be sent to both Houses. If things were greased, this could go quickly. We had every reason to suspect that the machinations behind the scenes were already being worked upon, to see to it that this bill’s quick processing would be fully orchestrated. After passage, we estimated that it could land on Governor Branstad’s desk within 20 minutes. There was nothing to stop the Governor from signing this bill. It would be all over for us once he signed.


We also considered the sobering fact that all of the bad bills, previously mentioned, that arose during the 1989 legislative session were still alive and viable in 1990. And now there were at least two new homeschool bills to worry about. It was a multi-pronged threat. ...


John Harvey informed us that bad legislation could pop up literally anywhere in the legislative arena, and that we would need somebody to scrutinize other bills emanating from other committees. He volunteered to look under every rock to see if any bad language appeared in other bills that didn’t seem germane on the surface. Indeed, over the years, John was often able to locate “truancy/child abuse” language when it popped up in many strange places. ...


The legislative session of 1990

Our worst-case predictions proved to be correct. In the first days of the legislative session, S.F. 149 quickly and easily passed the House. It was then supposed to be sent to conference committee so that the wrinkles could be ironed out. For some reason it never made it to the conference committee that day. Then a week went by. Then two weeks. We soon began to realize that it was stalled. But why? Were the legislators simply playing games with us? By this time we had a steady corps of volunteers covering the Capitol every minute of the day. ...


Believe it or not, the “spin” machine was still working overtime to persuade legislators that S.F. 149 did not pertain to homeschoolers. Legislators still scolded us that S.F. 149 was just a “truancy” bill. To counter this disinformation campaign, we amassed a stack of legal opinions and handed them to the legislators. ...


The legislators were urged to accommodate those homeschoolers who had convictions. Nevertheless, more than one legislator reprimanded homeschoolers with this statement: “You have the right to believe anything you want, but you don’t have the right to practice those beliefs.” We were learning quite about the sad state of religious freedom and tolerance in America in the late 20th century.


The final hours

In the waning hours of the 1990 legislative session, one day the call came forth from Rep. Daggett. The Senate File 149 Conference Committee was going to meet immediately. Within a matter of fifteen minutes, several dozen homeschoolers packed the tiny room where the conference committee was meeting. Some of the committee members were already discussing the bill. ...


As expected the conference committee easily worked out their differences and passed S.F. 149. It quickly and easily passed the Democrat-controlled House of Representatives a few moments later in its new form. Moments later it went to the Republican-controlled Senate. Our only hope was to completely stop the bill in the Senate. But, most Senators were not known to be favorable to homeschooling. Because of the stance of the Governor throughout the legislative session, and the ambitious activities of his legislative aide in promoting this bill, we thought there would be few Republican Senators who would have the courage to vote against it. And because the teacher’s union so heavily controlled Democrat politics in Iowa, we held out even less hope for Senate Democrat votes against the bill. Things looked very grim.


Homeschoolers packed the upper balcony to watch the proceedings. The floor debate started. All of the typical pros and cons were stated by the legislators we had come to know, both for and against this bill. But then, suddenly, something unexpected happened. Senator Jim Riordan, a well-known liberal Democrat from Dallas County (Dallas County!), stood up and proclaimed his opposition to the bill. He said that he had watched his constituents come in day after day during the legislative session. He said he now recognized that they should have the freedom, based on the Constitution, to practice their beliefs and their faith. He pronounced that he would vote against S.F. 149.


Then something even more dramatic happened. Senator Tom Mann, the only African-American in the Senate, also a Democrat, rose to speak. He defended the right to homeschool from a Constitutional perspective. His stand was very courageous and revealed his deep commitment to human and civil rights. ... 


The vote was taken. A miracle happened! S.F. 149 was defeated by one vote! One vote!


.... “If the language in S.F. 149 appears in a last-minute appropriations bill, we know that the Governor will not line-item-veto that language out of the bill,” I cautioned....


When the bedraggled group of homeschoolers walked into the small room at the back of the Senate chamber where Lieutenant Governor Joy Corning was just about to add the language of S.F. 149 to an appropriations bill, she looked up and her face sank. It wasn’t going to work. She dropped this last ditch attempt.


The meeting with Kathy Collins

On September 6, 1990 I had to face the “Great Nemesis” of homeschooling in person! Kathy Collins had been invited to speak to the Juvenile Justice Advisory Council. ...


Then I was asked to speak. Shaking inside and out, I began by stating that I had been homeschooled as a child and it had been a positive experience. This fact surprised many on the Council. I explained that there are two vastly different family structures, calling upon my background as a family counselor. I drew an illustration. I pointed to one end of the continuum where the most seriously dysfunctional families are—the type where the mother is drunk and passed out on the couch and the children are roaming the streets unsupervised. I noted that these families eventually enter the child welfare system, and that truancy is a symptom of greater problems that were frequently addressed through the many options available to the juvenile court. I then pointed to the other end of the family continuum. I said that these families often represented the most rock solid, dedicated families left in America. These were parents who loved their children, devoted their time and energy to educate them, sacrificed careers, and were exemplary law-abiding citizens in every way. These were the homeschoolers.


I then carefully explained how the various bills proposed so far in the legislature had lumped the seriously dysfunctional families together with the profoundly functional families. I stated that by refusing to clearly define truancy and homeschooling as separate and distinct legal issues, these two ends of the continuum would continue to be linked together, and would end up clogging the juvenile court system with kids who weren’t truly truant.


When I finished talking, there was a slight pause in the room. Then a man on the Council who had spent years in the trenches of the juvenile justice system leaned back in his chair and folded his arms across his chest. He quietly stated, “Well, I have never seen a homeschool kid in the system.” Several others quickly agreed with him. There was another slight pause. And then someone made the recommendation to drop the issue of truancy altogether. The official position of the Council that day forward was that truancy was not a juvenile justice issue.


We won that small battle. Miraculously, once again God had given me the courage and strength to stand before our enemy, face to face, and state the truth with boldness and conviction.


 The fruit of our efforts

It was Iowa homeschoolers who first stumbled onto David Hornbeck’s education reform plan which would to massively transform education for the 21st century. It was Iowa homeschoolers who first discovered a state-developed global education curriculum that openly promulgated the religious doctrine of “Gaia” worship. It was Iowa homeschoolers who first began publishing national articles warning other homeschoolers about the multi-pronged threats created by the encroachment of federal education reform. ...


 Our family moved away from Iowa in 1998. Our oldest son was permitted to participate in the NICHE graduation with his peers in June 1999. We were blessed to see the fruits of our labors. I cried when children I recognized—some of them seriously threatened in 1989—walked across the podium that day. These children were now grown. They were now “safe.” ...


In May of 1990, after the legislative session was over and S.F. 149 was finally defeated, we prepared a paper for posterity. Below, it is copied in its entirety. May you be blessed by reading it. An epilogue follows.



For the miraculous defeat of Senate File 149, a scourge on the homeschoolers in the State of Iowa for the past two years, we, the following represented groups that formed a coalition for the purpose of defeating said bill, hereby go on record to give God the Glory, Honor and Praise. Great is the Lord, and worthy to be praised. We thank Him for miracles, both big and small, many of which we will never know of until eternity. We mention some so that other Christians will know and also give God the Glory He so richly deserves for this victory.


o        For alerting homeschoolers about the dangers of S.F. 149 in the first place and providing legal opinions at timely moments throughout the two-year period.

o        For alerting three families that they were in danger of CINA and providing a way for them to flee the State of Iowa before their children were in danger.

o        For providing monies, cars that worked, food, weather, people, resources, volunteers, babysitters, and timely words.

o        For giving people the vision to pray, for giving some the burden to fast, for causing them to do so with joy, expectancy and faith, and with no recognition save the Lord.

o        For giving people the vision to get active, for holy boldness, for courage in the face of mocking and persecution, for words of wisdom in the face of intimidation and fear, and for equipping simple people of faith with a message of the truth that in the end defied all lies of the enemy.

o        For shining testimonies that were consistent in children, teens and adults over time and tribulation.

o        For unity despite diversity and the ability to speak forth the truth in one voice.

o        For friends in high and low places when extra voices were needed.

o        For little miracles each day.

o        For accidents, fires, delays, screw-ups, falls, sicknesses and other difficulties, because God’s time and ways are perfect.

o        For faithfulness, perseverance, and consistency in believers to follow through to the final hours of the battle without wavering or fleeing.

o        For the ability to endure a hopeless situation with hope and a clear mind centered on our Lord and Saviour, Jesus Christ.

o        For allowing us to soften hearts with a message of God’s love in an atmosphere of constant evil, and giving us the ability to shine as lights in the great halls of darkness that is the Iowa Legislature.

o        For forewarning us before every significant event in miraculous ways, and for giving us the vision of the battle ahead so that we were incredibly prepared every step of the way.

o        For loving us despite our human frailties, weaknesses, imperfections, sins, impatience and human errors.

o        For giving us compassionate friends, supportive groups, and committed organizations to fight along side us.


To GOD we give thanks. He alone deserves all Praise, Honor and Glory. Amen.




No homeschooler ever lost a child in Iowa during those turbulent years. We did not compromise away the rights of other homeschool parents during this volatile era.


I wish I could say that this is the end of the story. I wish I could say that the crisis we all experienced fifteen years ago has gone away. It would be wonderful to report that homeschooling is completely free and no longer under this threat.


But this isn’t the case. The very same agenda, which attempted to equate homeschooling with child abuse, still exists across America today. One need only do a simple Internet search on Google to discover that “homeschooling” and “truancy,” or “homeschooling” and “child abuse,” appear together frequently in unfavorable or badly misinformed newspaper articles and media stories.


The threatening agenda still lurks in darkness. The multi-pronged threats, coming at all truly private education from every conceivable direction, still exist. There are still people in positions of power, both political Right and Left, who have sinister plans to link homeschooling with child abuse. It is not a time for homeschool leaders to become complacent. It is not time to let down your guard, nor to be soothed into a false sense of peace and safety.


The plans to reform education contain elements of luring and enticing homeschoolers into the net of public or quasi-public  (“choice”) programs. Some reformers drew diagrams depicting children educated in the home linked to the government “system” by computer technologies. The reformers promised that “no child” would be left behind. They eagerly anticipated the final extinction of truly private education—by a state-controlled psycho-social assessment testing mechanism that would require that all children be enrolled, monitored and databanked in the “system.” They proposed severe penalties for non-compliance.


Days of trial and testing for homeschoolers—and all truly private schools—will quickly set upon us once again. Will we be able to stand and withstand? May God have mercy on us all!


©Homeschooling Under Fire, Lynn and Sarah Leslie. This document may not be re-published in any form, all or in part, without the written permission of Lynn and Sarah Leslie,