A farrier school has filed a federal lawsuit against the state of California for allegedly violating its constitutional right to teach horseshoeing to anyone who wants to learn.

Bob Smith, owner of Pacific Coast Horseshoeing School in Plymouth, Calif., filed the lawsuit Tuesday, Oct. 24, 2017, in United States District Court against Dean Grafilo in his capacity as director of Consumer Affairs and Michael Marion as chief of the Bureau for Private and Postsecondary Education. Esteban Narez is a co-plaintiff in the case.

The lawsuit comes after the 2009 passage of the California Private Postsecondary Education Act mandated that all students have a high school diploma, a GED or pass a government-approved exam before entering a private trade or vocational school.

The law’s aim was to stifle what’s referred to as “diploma mills” — schools that prey upon underqualified students by issuing bogus credentials after saddling them with a large student loan debt. While the law is modeled after a federal law regulating student loans, California law applies to all schools regardless of whether they accept student loans. Pacific Coast Horseshoeing School does not accept student loans.

Narez applied to Smith’s school, but had to be rejected because he does not have a high school diploma, a GED, nor has he passed a government-approved exam. As a result, Smith says the law violates his First Amendment right to teach certain students.

Pictured Above: Bob Smith, far right, owner of Pacific Coast Horseshoeing School, has filed a federal lawsuit against the state of California because he says it is violating his First Amendment right to teach horseshoeing to anyone who wishes to learn.

Photo: Institute for Justice

“For students with limited education, this law is this biggest obstacle to their success,” Smith says. “This law dictates that someone with limited formal education is not allowed to invest in themselves.”

The Institute for Justice, a libertarian law firm, filed the lawsuit.

“Just like publishing a how-to book or uploading an instructional video to YouTube is protected by the First Amendment, so is teaching,” says Keith Diggs, an attorney at the Institute for Justice. “By limiting who Bob is allowed to teach and what Esteban is allowed to learn, California has not only harmed the students most in need of an education, but also violated their First Amendment rights.”