The Home School Court Report
Vol. XXV
No. 1
Cover
January/February
2009

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NEW JERSEY

Give my regards to Broadway—and please forget about us

Moving to a new state should be simple for homeschool families, since they take their educational program with them wherever they go. But when the previous home state has an exaggerated view of its duties, tensions can arise.

The Martinez family (name changed to protect privacy) sent a letter to the Lower Manhattan Director of Homeschooling explaining that they were moving to New Jersey. They intentionally did not include their new street address, to avoid harassment.

The Lower Manhattan Director of Homeschooling called Mrs. Martinez, requesting proof of the children’s new address and school address. He wanted a letter from the local board of education in New Jersey confirming that they had been registered to homeschool. She responded that she was following the advice of Home School Legal Defense Association. He said, “That's fine, but we still need proof that your children are okay, or it will be like they fell off the face of the earth.” He added that if the family did not give him this information, he would go to court against them for educational neglect.

Mrs. Martinez called HSLDA for help. HSLDA Attorney Scott Woodruff called the director of homeschooling. The director said he could not take the children’s names out of their computer system until he had a new address. When Woodruff insisted that their names must be taken out of the system even without a street address, he transferred Woodruff up the chain of command.

Woodruff explained to the new official, up the chain of command, that the family’s new street address was none of his concern. The official asked if the family was registered to homeschool in New Jersey and said he was only concerned about their “safety.” He did not explain why moving to New Jersey should abruptly cause a safety concern. Woodruff explained that whether the children were “registered” to homeschool in New Jersey was a private matter and none of his concern. New Jersey families understand, of course, that no “registration” is required.

Bowing to common sense, the official said the children’s names would be removed. Unfortunately, a month later, the Lower Manhattan school system sent to the family’s old address a nonsensical letter saying that their “individualized instruction plan” had been approved and telling them they must submit quarterly reports! HSLDA advised the family to disregard Manhattan’s letter, and Woodruff sent a reply letter to the school system in yet another effort to convince them to leave the family alone.

— by Scott A. Woodruff