Family harassed by social services
A Home School Legal Defense Association member family from upper Michigan was shocked to find two social workers at the front door, responding to an allegation that the parents were physically abusing their children. The fact that a witness, rather than an anonymous tipster, had called in the allegation made the charge more serious.
The family immediately called HSLDA. Over the phone, our attorney for Michigan reminded the social workers of the family's constitutional protection against unwarranted entry into the home. One of the social workers revealed that he had tried getting back in touch with the witness and found out that the witness had given a false name and phone number, thus undermining the credibility of the allegation.
After nearly two hours of discussion with HSLDA at the family's door, the social worker said he could close the case if he could simply see the children at the door and ask them a few questions. The father consented.
As the HSLDA attorney listened in over the phone, each of the children cheerfully and articulately answered a few questions. Apparently satisfied, the social workers promised to close the case and to work with the local prosecutor to track down the malicious tipster. We are thankful God enabled us to resolve this situation so quickly. (See Social Services Contact Policy on page 13.)
Form not required
Several local school districts have contacted HSLDA members in Michigan, requiring them to fill out a Home School Report Form. This form requires the parents' names address, and telephone number, and the children's names, birth dates, and grade levels.
However, Michigan home schoolers are not required to register with the public school. The law simply requires that: "The child is being educated at the child's home by his or her parent or legal guardian in an organized educational program in the subject areas of reading, spelling, mathematics, science, history, civics, literature, writing, and English grammar."
Parents have the right to choose home schooling. The burden to prove the family is not home educating rests on the school district. Home schooling families are presumed to be fulfilling this law unless a school official has probable cause or credible evidence to the contrary.
HSLDA has written to these school districts, explaining that our member families are not obligated to fill out the Home School Report Form.
- Christopher J. Klicka