As this newsletter goes to press, even before the October 15 private school affidavit-filing deadline has arrived, three school districts that we know of have initiated some type of contact with homeschoolers.
Chino Valley wrote parents a letter, indicating that district officials intended to visit small private schools to make sure they are in compliance with state law. Galt Joint Union and Morango Unified wrote letters asking "parents" to call the district office regarding the enrollment status of their children. Home School Legal Defense Association informed these districts that their requests and stated intended actions exceed their authority and violate home educating parents' constitutional rights.
As HSLDA has reported in recent newsletters and on our website, the California Department of Education (CDE) has taken the position that filing an affidavit "does not transform" a home school into a private school. A quick perusal of the CDE's website finds their intent to put pressure on homeschoolers is immediately obvious. HSLDA disagrees with CDE's interpretations of the lawóread our reports on and response to CDE at www.hslda.org/hs/state/CA.
Once the affidavits have been filed, homeschoolers will be poised to see what is coming next from the CDE and/or local school district. HSLDA has heard numerous reports that school districts are being encouraged by the CDE to follow-up with private schools with five or fewer students. While these types of contacts are far from new in California, it does appear that they may be more widespread than in previous years.
From previous experience representing homeschoolers in California, HSLDA believes it is very unlikely that those who have enrolled in a private school independent study program (ISP) will be contacted by their local public school. However, we recommend that our members familiarize themselves with the instructions provided in the September/October 2002 Court Report.
HSLDA advises our members not to respond to letters such as those described above. If you receive a letter from your school district that specifically inquires about the status of your private school or students, immediately forward a copy to the HSLDA legal department so that we can respond on your behalf. If you receive any contact by telephone or in person, please follow the instructions outlined in the last Court Report (September/October 2002).
Remember that what you are doing is legal. Remember that you are not trusting in the strength of men, but of God. He will be with us through this battle. Visit our website for the latest updates: www.hslda.org.
ó J. Michael Smith