Home School Court Report
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No. 3

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Activist: Report Students “Not in School” to Police

A community activist in Hillandale Gardens (Adelphi area) recently published a newsletter urging residents to call the police to “report students not in school during school hours. They can’t LEARN and often get in trouble!”

Home School Legal Defense Association Senior Counsel Scott Woodruff sent a letter to the activist explaining that under state law, a child who is not “in school” during school hours is not necessarily truant. Homeschooling families have much more flexibility in their schedules than public schools do. Most homeschool programs include physical education as a required course, which may involve a child running, playing sports, riding a bicycle, and participating in other outdoor activities when other children are sitting at desks in public schools.

Woodruff explained to the community activist that an inappropriate call to the police could result in an innocent child being stopped and interrogated by a police officer. Even worse could follow if the responding officer is not familiar with homeschool regulations. The activist’s newsletter reflected an outdated mindset. Learning can and does take place for homeschooled children who are not “in school.” And as for getting in trouble, it is sad that any children are in juvenile detention centers, but the majority are not homeschoolers.

—by Scott A. Woodruff