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Giles County Family Faces Unwarranted Truancy Charges

In August, a member family residing in Giles County received a threatening telephone call from a truant officer regarding their 11-year-old son. The officer insisted that the family complete some type of notice or registration form in connection with their decision to provide home schooling for their son who is in the sixth grade. The parents were conducting a home school in association with a church-related school, so Home School Legal Defense Association faxed a letter to the truant officer pointing out that the Board of Education’s insistence that the parents complete any form was without any legal authority.

Parents conducting a home school which is not associated with a church-related school must notify the local school district of their intent by August 1 of each school year. However, if the notice is not given by August 1, but is given by September 1, it may be submitted upon payment by the parent of a penalty of $20.00 for each week or portion thereof by which the notice is late. This penalty payment shall not exceed $80.00 and shall be charged per family regardless of the number of children attending the home school. The superintendent has the discretionary authority to waive the September 1 deadline for good and sufficient reasons.

But for the family in this case, home schools which are associated with church-related schools are not required by the home school statute to give any notice to the local school district. Thus, the August 1 deadline does not apply to these students. However, ninth through twelfth graders in a home school associated with a church-related school must be registered by their parents with the local school district. There is no deadline for this registration, although HSLDA believes that this registration should take place on or about the time the parent begins to conduct the home school each year.

After receiving the faxed communication from HSLDA, the truant officer has made no further contact with the home schooling family.