Home School Court Report
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No. 2

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Districts seek census information

In Wisconsin, local school districts are required to conduct a census of school-age children. Pursuant to this requirement, two districts sent requests to Home School Legal Defense Association member families for the names and birth dates of anyone under 20 years old who resided in their homes.

Wary of releasing personal data unnecessarily, the families notified HSLDA of these census requests. Senior Counsel Christopher J. Klicka wrote to the districts, affirming their need to conduct a census, but advising them that homeschooling families are not obligated to participate and that our members declined to provide the requested information.

If you live in Wisconsin and receive notice of a census from your local school district, please know that you are not required to participate and may decline to give the information requested.

DPI admits to overstepping bounds

As required by law, an HSLDA member family submitted their Home-Based Private Educational Program Form (PI-1206) by October 15 last year.* However, the Wisconsin Department of Public Instruction (DPI) rejected the form, citing that it did "not meet all of the statutory requirements" because the family did not supply a street address or grade levels for their children.

Though a request for grade levels was listed on the form, the law does not require this information, and the street address is collected merely as a convenience. The family called HSLDA, and Senior Counsel Christopher J. Klicka sent a letter to the Wisconsin DPI, asserting that the form as submitted by the family complied with statutory requirements.

As requested in Klicka's letter, the DPI provided a written acknowledgment agreeing with HSLDA. The family was pleased with the acknowledgment and is continuing with their school year.

District pressures special needs homeschooler

An HSLDA member family needed speech therapy for their son Jacob because he had been born with a cleft palate. When younger, Jacob had received the speech therapy privately, but when the family moved to Johnson Creek, they received the services through the public school.

After six years of speech therapy, the family felt that Jacob was speaking clearly and no longer needed therapy. Thus, they wanted his evaluation and Individual Education Plan (IEP) to be dropped, and they wished to sever ties with the public school. However, the school would not drop the IEP. Worried that the school would charge her with educational neglect or report her to social services, Jacob's mother called HSLDA.

Senior Counsel Christopher Klicka informed the school that the family would no longer be attending IEP meetings because they were no longer pursuing public services; instead, they would be providing for all of Jacob's needs privately. Klicka explained that the family was not required to obtain services for their son through the school and that terminating the services was completely within their rights under Wisconsin law and the 1st and 14th Amendments of the Constitution. The public school's jurisdiction and control ended once the family ended the public services.

The school stated that it would drop the evaluation and IEP and terminate all association with the family.

— by Christopher J. Klicka

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