The Home School Court Report
Vol. XXII
No. 4
Cover
July/August
2006

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MARYLAND

Harford Uses Unlawful Interrogation Tactics

A Harford County pupil personnel worker recently called a homeschooling family to remind them about their year-end portfolio review, and then dropped a bombshell. He asked them to bring their children in to his office so he could question them. Perplexed and troubled by this unusual request, the Home School Legal Defense Association member family immediately called our office for advice. We promptly called the official, who said he wanted to ask the children if they enjoyed homeschooling and were getting enough to eat. He also said he was going to ask them to draw a picture for him.

This line of questioning was irrelevant to the issue of whether the family was offering regular and thorough instruction. HSLDA informed the official that he had no legal authority to conduct such an investigation. The official readily conceded that we were correct and withdrew his request to interview the children.

Subsequently, HSLDA learned that all eight Harford County pupil personnel workers had attended a meeting where the school officials were urged to ask these types of questions.

HSLDA will follow this troubling situation closely. Treating homeschooling families like child abuse suspects is intolerable and unlawful. The best defense, however, is for every homeschooling family to understand their rights and the limits on the authority of public school officials.

— by Scott A. Woodruff