The Home School Court Report
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January / February 2004

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Registration myth snares family

A once-popular myth-that Indiana homeschoolers must "register" with the department of education-has resurfaced. In late September, a social worker asked a Richmond-area Home School Legal Defense Association member family to come to her office. "Failure to keep this appointment could result in your case being referred to our attorney for possible legal action," her letter warned.

The family immediately contacted HSLDA for assistance. First, we advised the family to send a letter to the social worker authorizing her to talk to us. Then we called the official and learned the sole allegation against the family: a claim that the children were neither in school nor "registered."

Five days after the family received the social worker's letter, Vagas Ferguson, an attendance liaison with Richmond Community Schools, came to the home and handed the parents a letter demanding that the family submit a notice of intent to provide home instruction and "register" with the state department of education. The letter stated,

In the past you may not have had to complete these forms and submit them. But the state now requires that a school district have families provide this information each school year if they intend to educate their children at home.

HSLDA has written letters to the social worker and the attendance liaison explaining that the family is in full compliance with Indiana compulsory education law. Neither a notice of intent nor "registration" is required under state law.

For years, HSLDA has battled to convince local prosecutors, truant officers, and social workers of the seemingly obvious fact that state law does not require homeschool families to "register." For a time, even the Indiana Department of Education referred to "registration" on its website.

We need your help to ensure that the myth of registration remains dead and buried. If you hear anyone refer to it, please explain that Indiana law does not require homeschoolers to "register." If we allow the myth to linger, one day we may find ourselves facing legislators who want to turn the myth into reality. You can help protect homeschool liberty in Indiana by understanding and exercising your rights and by informing others.

— Scott A. Woodruff