Home School Court Report
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VOLUME XXI, NUMBER 1
- disclaimer -
January / February 2005


FEATURES
State Legislation Summary—2004
2004 art contest

Our Judges

Winners of the three categories
PHC beats Oxford in debate
GenJ: Into the land

What are Generation Joshua & HSLDA PAC?

Sodrel: One very tight race . . .

Davis: In a dead heat

DEPARTMENTS
From the heart

2004 in review

From the director

Impact of the fund

Mission statement of HSF
Across the states
Active cases
Members only
About campus
President's page

ET AL.

On the other hand: a Contrario Sensu

HSLDA social services contact policy/A plethora of forms

HSLDA legal inquiries

Prayer & Praise


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  LEGAL/LEGISLATIVE UPDATES  

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ACROSS THE STATES

AL · CA · CO · FL · GA · IA · KY · MI · MS · MO · NV · NJ · NM · NY · ND · OH · OK · OR · PA · RI · TX · UT · VT · VA · WA · WI

MISSOURI

Double investigation trouble

When the Missouri Department of Social Services received a report that the daughter of a St. Louis-area family was truant, a social worker came to the family's home to do a "family assessment."* The family wisely refused to participate, but allowed the social worker to see the child.

The social worker closed her investigation but then sent the case to the local juvenile office, where the officer opened her own investigation. She sent a letter warning the family to attend a scheduled "informal adjustment conference" or risk being taken to court. This threat seemed credible because the letter was typed in a format that strongly resembles documents that are actually filed in court. The member family asked Home School Legal Defense Association for help.

We examined the family's log and found that it was being maintained properly. Sending a copy of the log to the officer, we explained that a log is a defense against a claim of truancy and asked her to close her file. The officer acknowledged that the log established the family was legally homeschooling and said she would drop the matter.

Both investigations may have been the product of misidentification of the student. The school apparently used the girl's first name, but when withdrawing her from public school, the parents sent a notice using her middle name. To prevent a recurrence of the problem, we advised the family to send a new notice using their daughter's first name. (A notice is not mandatory, but advisable when withdrawing a child from public school.)

We have seen an unprecedented number of situations in which a social worker closes an investigation and then hands off the file to the juvenile office for another investigation. Double investigations are unjust and uncalled for, and we are working to correct this problem.

— by Scott A. Woodruff

* See "HSLDA social services contact policy".