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Failure to File Enrollment Form Leads to Legal Difficulties

Filing the Church School Enrollment Form is an issue the local public school superintendent takes seriously, as a member family in Birmingham recently discovered. In October, they received a notice to appear in family court to explain their son’s failure to comply with the compulsory school attendance law. This family had actually enrolled their son in a church school in August at the beginning of the 1999-2000 school year and had relied upon the church school officials to file the required enrollment form with the local public school superintendent as required by Section 16-28-7 of the Alabama Code. Unfortunately, due to an administrative oversight, the church school officials failed to file the form as required, resulting in an allegation of truancy against the family’s son.

Home School Legal Defense Association advised the parents that it was their responsibility under Alabama law to file the Church School Enrollment Form, not the responsibility of the church school. The parents took immediate action to remedy this administrative oversight, while HSLDA corresponded with the public school’s attendance supervisor, advising her of steps taken by the family to remedy the violation. As a result, the family did not have to appear in family court, and this matter was resolved without the need of further intervention by HSLDA.

Parents in Alabama are reminded that, while church schools may file the Church School Enrollment Form with the local superintendent, it remains the parents’ responsibility to do so under state law. Parents should verify with public school officials that the form has been filed with the local superintendent to avoid problems such as those recently encountered by this Birmingham family.