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Boone County threatens DFS investigations

Last fall, Lura Davidson, Superintendent of Boone County R-IV School District, Hallsville, sent a letter to home school families attempting to influence them to "register." Home school families have the option of filing or registering under Revised Statutes of Missouri § 167.042.

Home School Legal Defense Association routinely advises our members that they should not file under this statute. Filing does not benefit the family in any way, and the information they file becomes public information. Therefore, anyone can access a registered family's information. We wrote Ms. Davidson, asking her to cease efforts to influence home school families to register.

In response to this, Peter Yelkovac, attorney for the school district, wrote HSLDA:

If such [home school] parents choose not to return a completed form to the district, or, at least, to make the required statutory information available to the district via an alternative means, then the district will have no choice but to . . . report to the Division of Family Services in accordance with Missouri law.

HSLDA immediately responded to Mr. Yelkovac, explaining that if the school district adopted a policy of reporting all home school families to social services just because they decided not to make the optional filing, that HSLDA would take all necessary action to protect the rights of our members. We asked the attorney to reconsider his advice to the school district.

As this article goes to press, Mr. Yelkovac had not replied to HSLDA's letter or telephone calls. Apparently, he was unaware that social services does not have authority to investigate a complaint when the only allegation is that the family is home schooling a child. Social services must immediately refer the complaint to the school district, and the school district then refers the complaint to the county attorney. This is explained in Revised Statutes of Missouri § 221.167.

If you receive information that any Boone County home school families are being reported to social services or the county attorney simply because they wish to exercise their right to decline to "register," please notify us immediately. — Scott A. Woodruff