Hostile investigation dropped
Mrs. S was shocked when a sheriff and two social workers from the Department of Human Services (DHS) came to her house and demanded an interview based on allegations that she was a "recluse" and had not left her house in three years.
A widow, raising her two autistic children on her own in a remote area, this home schooling mother is not able to leave the home very often.
Mrs. S wisely indicated that she could not let the social workers in her house, and stated she would have to call her attorney. The sheriff responded, "If you close the door, I will break it down." He also warned that if she did not cooperate, "Things will get nasty."
After a 20-minute standoff and in the face of these threatening statements, Mrs. S acquiesced and let the sheriff and social workers in her home. They interviewed her and looked around the house. When they left, they indicated that they would contact her in the near future.
Mrs. S contacted Home School Legal Defense Association. We immediately called the social worker, explained that Mrs. S was doing nothing illegal in home schooling and caring for her children, and requested the investigation be dropped at once.
Acknowledging there was no reason to suspect abuse, the social worker admitted she could not defend the manner in which the interview was conducted and she indicated that the investigation was unfounded.
HSLDA members are encouraged to contact our legal staff immediately if a social worker or police officer demands to enter your home. (See Social Services Contact Policy on page 13.)
Moffat County blunder
Moffat County School District's Special Education and Student Services director recently sent home schoolers the district's notice of intent form and a cover letter, together containing five inaccuracies.
First, the letter asserted that children in a home-based educational program are required to be instructed 172 days, one hour a day. The Colorado home school law, however, clearly says that children are to be instructed an average of four hours a day.
Second, the district's letter reminded parents to have their children tested in grades 3, 4, 7, 9, and 11. The law states, however, that children are to be tested in grades 3, 5, 7, 9, and 11.
Third, the letter instructed parents to complete and return the enclosed Annual Notification of Established Home Study form. Colorado home schoolers do not have to use a form supplied by the district, but according to the law, must "certify, in writing, only a statement containing the name, age, place of residence, and number of hours of attendance of each child enrolled in said program." [Emphasis added.]
The fourth inaccuracy was with the form itself. Moffat's Annual Notification stated that home schooled children must be given the nationally standardized achievement test used by the school district. Colorado home school law does not specify which test must be used, but only states that "[e]ach child shall be given a nationally standardized achievement test. . . ."
And finally, the form also stated that it is the responsibility of the parents to contact the school district to determine when testing is to take place. Parents have the responsibility to test their children in the appropriate grades, but they may do so with the test of their choice, at the time and location of their choice.
HSLDA wrote the district, addressing these inaccuracies, pointing out the correct interpretation of the law, and informing them that our members would be filling out the notice of intent form developed by HSLDA.
- Christopher J. Klicka