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8/11/2011 11:21:57 AM
Home School Legal Defense Association
Florida--Unlawful Demands on Homeschoolers by Miami-Dade School Officials

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From the HSLDA E-lert Service...
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Florida--Unlawful Demands on
Homeschoolers by Miami-Dade School Officials

Dear HSLDA Members and Friends:

In the past week, we have learned of an alarming threat to homeschool
freedom in Miami-Dade County. It is because we believe it is necessary
for every homeschool family in the county to be aware of the situation
and know what we are doing that we are sending you this email. Please
forward this to any of your homeschooling friends in Miami-Dade who
might not otherwise receive our e-lerts.

Recently, Miami-Dade County school officials in the Office of
Attendance Services have been demanding that all parents who file
their notice to establish a home education program come down
personally to their office. These homeschool parents are being told
that they must bring an original copy of their child's birth
certificate or other proof of age and legal name, as well as proof of
guardianship if their name is different than the child's.

Additionally, if a parent has submitted their notice in letter format
or on any other form other than the Miami-Dade "Home Education Program
Registration" form, school officials are insisting that parents submit
the district's form.

As I am sure most of you recognize these demands go far beyond what a
parent is required to do to operate a home education program under
Florida law. Florida Statutes sec. 1002.41 states that a parent must
"notify the district school superintendent of the county in which the
parent resides of her or his intent to establish and maintain a home
education program...in writing." The notice must be "signed by the
parent, and shall include the names, addresses, and birthdates of all
children who shall be enrolled as students in the home education
program." No particular form is required. The notice must be filed
with the superintendent within 30 days of establishing the home
education program.

When we spoke with Ms. Burks, the administrative director for the
Office of Attendance Services, she acknowledged that these
"requirements" were new. However, she insisted that the district was
authorized to demand these documents and was able to insist on a
personal visit to the office under Florida law.

We have written a letter to Ms. Burks pointing out that nothing under
Florida law permits Miami-Dade County school officials from requesting
these documents. We have demanded that district officials immediately
drop their unlawful requests. If they refuse to do so by early next
week, we will evaluate further options to address the school
district's excessive demands.

In the meantime, we would suggest that if you have already filed, be
prepared for a phone call from school officials requesting that you
come in and bring your child's birth certificate with you. You are not
required to do this, and we would suggest that you simply ask them to
provide you with a list, in writing, of the information they need from
you. If you receive any correspondence about this issue, please
immediately forward it to us for evaluation and action.

If you have not yet filed your home education notification for a
child, we would suggest that you do the following. First, write a
letter or use our form (available for members online at
http://www.hslda.org/elink.asp?id=12025 ) with just the required
information (must be written, signed by parent and include children's
names, addresses, and birthdates). Keep a copy for your records and
send the letter with delivery confirmation from the USPS. If you
receive any contact from school officials, ask them to provide you
with a list of what they need in writing and notify us immediately.

We believe these unlawful demands are related to the Barahona case and
are more likely to have come out of the Nubia Report than the more
recent Miami-Dade grand jury report on this situation. If you are
unfamiliar with the development of this situation over the past few
months and what we have previously written about it, you can view our
articles on the grand jury report
http://www.hslda.org/elink.asp?id=12026 and the Nubia Report.
http://www.hslda.org/elink.asp?id=12027 .

Again, please feel free to forward this email to your homeschool
friends in Miami-Dade who might not be members of HSLDA or signed up
for our free e-lerts. We will continue to monitor this potentially
dangerous situation and notify you of any updates.

If you are not yet a member of HSLDA and would like us to protect your
individual right to teach your children at home and for homeschool
freedom in Florida, please visit
http://www.hslda.org/elink.asp?id=12028 .

If you would like to be put on our free email list to receive vital
e-lerts you may sign up at http://www.hslda.org/elink.asp?id=7919 .

Thanks for all of your efforts for home school freedom in Florida!

Sincerely,

Thomas (Tj) Schmidt
HSLDA Staff Attorney

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