Across the States
Declaration of Enrollment Optional
The Jackson R-2 School District sent a letter to area homeschooling families in March 2010 telling them that the school district “is required to obtain a declaration of homeschooled students on an annual basis in order to complete February state reporting.”
The enclosed “Declaration of Enrollment” form, which is optional by law, called for unnecessary information, including the child’s birth date and grade.* The form invited parents to sign a statement that said, “This letter is being sent to allow you to relinquish [your] responsibility by clearing your records, and to exit my son/daughter from the public school system.”
The combination of misinformation and implied threats did not convince Wade and Beth Fisher (names changed to protect privacy) to fill out the form. They forwarded the documents they had received to Home School Legal Defense Association. HSLDA confirmed that the Fishers had no duty to fill out the form or respond in any way. The declaration of enrollment mentioned in the statutes is strictly optional. It is rarely to a family’s advantage to complete it.
HSLDA Senior Counsel Scott Woodruff followed up with a letter to Jackson R-2 explaining that families have no obligation to file the optional declaration of enrollment and that school districts have no obligation to push families into submitting one. Woodruff also asked the district to stop threatening families by implying that the only way to remove a child from public school is by using the declaration of enrollment form.
* See “A plethora of forms.”
— by Scott A. Woodruff