Legislation Targets Home Schoolers
A bill designed to crack down on compulsory attendance violations has been introduced in the Alabama legislature.
According to S.381, public school principals would be required to report suspected compulsory attendance violations to the district superintendents. In turn, the superintendents would be required to report these suspected violations to the district attorney. Superintendents failing to report suspected truancy violations would be guilty of a Class C misdemeanor. Senate Bill 381 further instructs the district attorney to enforce this requirement vigorously to ensure proper school discipline and attendance.
At first glance this legislation may appear harmless. Because of Alabama’s private school provisions, however, home-schooling families are routinely suspected of truancy. If S.381 should pass, families could face endless truancy investigations. Currently the prosecutor has discretion to review reported cases and decide whether or not to proceed against the family. S. 381 would remove that protection and mandate prosecution of suspected truants—even reports based on a mere suspicion of the local principal.
Not only will mandating prosecution be a terrific waste of tax dollars, S.381 would also render the positions of truant officers and school administrators obsolete. At present these local school officials are responsible to investigate truancy violations. Working through these officials, Home School Legal Defense Association has successfully convinced many Alabama school districts to leave home schoolers alone-even though the state superintendent is openly opposed to home schooling.
Immediately upon learning of this proposed legislation, HSLDA sent an alert to its Alabama members. Many home schoolers have written to their senators requesting that they vote against S.381. HSLDA recently learned that S.381 has been indefinitely postponed. Home schoolers in Alabama are safe for another year.