The Home School Court Report
VOLUME XV, NUMBER 6
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NOVEMBER / DECEMBER 1999
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Teach Them to Dream Big Dreams: A Look at HSLDA's Conference at the Capitol

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In Defense of Liberty: State Rise to Protect Religious Freedom

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a contrario sensu

The Fall or the Drive?
As a home schooling mother of four small children, I am always tickled by the cute things they come up with. One morning our Bible story was centered on Adam and Eve’s disobedience. Afterwards, we discussed how God “drove” them out of the Garden as the consequence to that disobedience. All of the children seemed to understand and answered my questions. Later that day, my three-year-old was deep in thought and, with a puzzled expression, asked, “When God drove Adam and Eve out of the Garden of Eden, did he use a car?”

Sally Anne Perz
Howard, Wisconsin
Wisconsin

Form PI-1206 Exceeds Law

When a Columbus Home School Legal Defense Association family filed Form PI-1206 without listing the grade levels of the children involved, the state department of public instruction rejected the form and insisted that grade levels be included.

The enrollment form has spaces for parents to indicate the number and gender of students in each grade level. The form also has the option of categorizing children as “ungraded.”

The statute which requires that enrollment data be provided to the state does not require that the enrollment data be broken down by grade or gender. It only requires that the enrollment for elementary grades as a group, and high school grades as a group, be reported. HSLDA has advised the state that Form PI-1206 calls for data not required by law and has requested that the form be corrected.

DPI Questions & Answers

The Wisconsin Department of Public Instruction sent out a document entitled Questions and DPI Responses Relating to Home-Based Private Educational Programs to many home schoolers. While much of the information in the document was accurate, unfortunately many of DPI’s answers were incorrect.

Raising the most concern was a paragraph indicating home schoolers must “attend school regularly during the full period and hours . . . that the public or private school in which the child should be enrolled . . . .” However, Wisconsin Statute §118.15(1)(a) was only partially quoted in this answer. The beginning of that paragraph in the statute states, “Except as provided under pars. (b) to (d) and sub. (4) . . . .” “Sub. (4)” refers to home schools. Home schoolers are, therefore, exempted from having to attend school the same hours as public school students.

Home School Legal Defense Association attorney Scott Woodruff wrote the Wisconsin DPI about this and other concerns regarding the Q&A document, but had not received a response as this article went to press. Regardless of DPI’s assertion in the Q&A piece, state law remains the same— Wisconsin home schoolers are not required to educate their children the same hours as the public schools.

Protecting Fourth Amendment Rights

A citizen’s Fourth Amendment rights do not disappear during an investigation where an alleged abuser is outside the family. One southern Wisconsin home school family was greatly distressed at allegations that an older neighborhood child had contacted their son in a physically inappropriate manner.

During investigation by family services, a social worker wanted to interview this family’s son alone at the social worker’s office. Home School Legal Defense Association attorney Scott Woodruff discussed this request with the family. Their right to be free from unreasonable search and seizure was the same in this case as it would be in a case where the parents themselves are accused of the abuse. The parents ultimately agreed to allow the social worker to interview their son at a nearby park, and only in their presence.

With this alternative, the family’s rights were preserved, their child’s need for protection was satisfied, and family services obtained the information it needed to deal appropriately with the neighborhood child who had perpetrated the contact.