Across the States
Getting Put on
“Dropout” List Brings Truant Officer
Once a student enters college, dealing with compulsory attendance laws should be a thing of the past. But those laws came back to haunt Melanie Jordan (name changed to protect privacy).
Melanie was homeschooled through a non-approved private school (NAPS) and finished high school in June of 2008. Interested in medicine, she enrolled in the local community college.
But in March of 2009, Melanie’s mom received a letter from the local public school superintendent saying that the State of Maine had listed Melanie as a “dropout.” Soon after, a truant officer arrived at the family home and politely asked Melanie’s mom to come to the school office to file a notice of intent to homeschool Melanie. The mother said she would like to talk to her lawyer first.
Since the family was a member of Home School Legal Defense Association, they had quick access to help. HSLDA Attorney Scott Woodruff obtained letters documenting that the NAPS from which Melanie had graduated had complied with Maine’s guidelines. The school’s administrator had provided annual confirmation to the state that the school’s students were receiving equivalent instruction. There was simply no reason for Melanie to be listed as a dropout.
Woodruff wrote to the Maine Department of Education, asking them to fix this mess and apologize to Melanie. The department’s representative subsequently confirmed that Melanie was no longer listed as a dropout.
— by Scott A. Woodruff