The Home School Court Report
No. 2

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District Mix-up Leads to Threatening Letter

This fall, Broward County School District’s guidance department sent a letter to a Home School Legal Defense Association member family stating that the family had enrolled their children in a home education program in May 2009, but they were out of compliance with Florida law since their annual assessment was not received in May 2010. The letter also threatened that the family’s home education program would be terminated and the family’s information forwarded to the school social work and attendance department if the annual assessment wasn’t received within 10 days of receipt of the letter.

Unfortunately, the school district was mistaken: The family had actually begun officially homeschooling in September 2007, but the district had confused this date with May 2009, when the family had given their children the annual assessment test for the 2008–09 school year.

When HSLDA was contacted about this problem, staff attorney Thomas Schmidt immediately sent the district a letter correcting the enrollment anniversary date. He enclosed a copy of the family’s original notice of intent for September 2007, demonstrating that the 2009–10 annual assessment was not due until September 2010.

Schmidt’s letter further explained that the parents regularly have their children evaluated between May and July so that they have plenty of time left to submit the evaluation sometime in August, well before their September anniversary date. He explained that the law does not prohibit parents from ensuring that their children are evaluated earlier than they are legally required to, and there was therefore no reason to penalize the family.

The family’s annual assessment has since been received by the district and we expect no further difficulties about their enrollment anniversary date.

— by Thomas J. Schmidt