The Home School Court Report
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May / June 2005

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DPP makes outrageous demands

A local director of pupil personnel (DPP) recently surprised a Home School Legal Defense Association member family in Grayson County, arriving at the door and demanding that the mother immediately furnish all of her records-including her children's books, schoolwork, and attendance records.

Eager to prove that she was conducting a bona fide homeschool program, the mother showed the DPP an armload of materials. However, the DPP complained that the mother's attendance records weren't good enough and that she did not believe the mother had really been teaching her children. The visit ended with the DPP telling this homeschooling mom to put the children in public school within 24 hours, or prepare to go to court.

The mother immediately contacted her local support group, a statewide homeschool organization, and HSLDA for help. Investigation revealed that an anonymous complaint had been made that the family was not homeschooling their children. According to state law, when a DPP receives such a complaint, he or she has the authority to request scholarship and attendance records. In a good-faith gesture, the mother agreed to meet with the DPP to supply these materials.

At the meeting, the DPP continued to make unreasonable demands that were beyond her legal authority. She claimed that the mother was keeping attendance records in the wrong way and that instruction in certain subjects had to last for 45 minutes each day. She also insisted that the mother provide her with a daily schedule of instructional activities and that the children demonstrate their reading and writing abilities in her presence.

At this point, HSLDA Staff Attorney Thomas J. Schmidt stepped in to inform the DPP of our member family's legal right to teach their children at home. Schmidt reminded the DPP that the only documents she had legal authority to examine were the attendance records and the scholarship reports (report cards). After pointing out that there is no statutory authority for a DPP to dictate the manner in which records are kept or force an educational evaluation of homeschool children, Schmidt demanded that all harassment of the family stop.

HSLDA is committed to defending all our member families against public school officials who attempt to harass them or limit their rights to teach their children at home. Any member family experiencing similar attacks should contact us as soon as possible.

—by Thomas J. Schmidt