Neighbors sue home school family

Homeschooling Family Sued By Neighbors For Allowing Kids To Play Outside During The Day

A Texas homeschooling family is being sued by their neighbors for letting their four children play outside during the day when most kids are in “normal school.” The neighbors say the children are a “noise disturbance” and that they deserve peace and quiet. However, Kelly Counts says the neighbors never voiced their concerns to her, but rather started blasting lewd rap music from their windows every time the children would come outside to play. Now, Kelly says she doesn’t feel comfortable in her own backyard and she is being force to head to court over her children playing outside on a playhouse. The angry neighbors note that the kids are loud, it disturbs their peace and upsets their dogs.

CBS Plano reports that Kelly and Andrew Counts are the parents of four children. The family chose to home school their children as Kelly stays home with them. However, during their time at home, the children will frequently go outside to play when the weather is nice. The Counts family’s neighbors claim that the children being home during the day is a nuisance, and that it is disturbing their right to a peaceful home. Therefore, the Counts’ neighbors, Irving and Anita Ward, are suing the family for the noise created by their children playing outside during the day.

The lawsuit was filed in Collins County, Texas, by the Wards against the Counts over their noisy children. In the lawsuit, the Wards claim their “tranquil quality of life” had been destroyed by the children and that the playhouse in the family’s backyard causes “visibility issues for them and their pets.” Patheos notes that Kelly Counts claims she has tried on numerous occasions to discuss the issues with her angry neighbors, but they refuse to answer the door or slam it in her face. In fact, Kelly said she only learned of the Ward’s issues with her children when they began blaring loud, obscene music from their windows each time her children would come outside.

She says prior to the rap music overload, the only problem voiced by the Wards was the family’s playhouse, which was approved by the HOA and City of Plano. The playhouse was allegedly causing “visibility issues” for the Wards. An HOA inspector came to the property to take a look. Kelly noted that the only “visibility” that was obstructed was the visibility from the Wards bedroom to the Counts living room. The inspector agreed and simply told the family to remove the porch roof from the structure as it was inches too close to the house. The Counts removed the roof and thought the issue was over. However, the issue was far from over and a lawsuit would be filed against the homeschooling family for allowing their children to play during a time that “most children are in regular schools.”

The case highlights an interesting issue for those living in a neighborhood setting in close proximity to other people. Do children have a right to play outside just as homeowners feel they have a right to peace and quiet? In the Wards own lawsuit, they note that the children play outside during daylight hours and occasionally during the evening; therefore, there is no indication that the children are being “too noisy” late into the evening or early in the morning when most people would be sleeping. Should homeowners expect “peace and quiet” during daylight hours? What about regular daytime noises such as lawnmowers, loud vehicles, construction equipment and people simply enjoying the daytime hours?

While the Wards are arguing that “most children” are in “regular schools” during the daytime, couldn’t Kelly Counts argue that “most neighbors” are at “regular work away from the home” during daylight hours? What are your thoughts on this particular case? If you choose to live in a neighborhood setting, do you have a right to “tranquility” during the daytime when your neighbors may be out and about? Let us know your thoughts in the comments section below.

[Image via Shutterstock/Sunny Studio]

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