Originally Sent: 9/6/2013

From the HSLDA e-lert service…
Home School Legal Defense Association

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Council Bluffs Threatens Prosecution

Homeschooling in Iowa

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Senior Counsel Scott Woodruff answers questions and assists members with legal issues in your state. He and his wife homeschooled their children.
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Dear HSLDA Members:

School administrators continue to adjust to the fact that many homeschool families no longer need to communicate with them. Council Bluffs Schools representative Robin Luedtke sent out a letter dated September 5 (over the signature of Jennifer Barnett) saying the school:

“… needs to be sure that all home school/dual enrolled parents have an application on file. Yours is missing … Without the application on file, you are in violation of Iowa’s mandatory attendance law. The only alternative I have is to report you to the county attorney.”

Families who have been keeping up with email messages and articles from HSLDA will know with confidence that Option 4 and 5 families do not need to initiate any sort of filing, communication or application with the school. Any county attorney worthy of his law license would agree.

The author of this letter exercised poor judgment, in my opinion, in issuing a blanket threat to all families who had not filed anything. Frightening law-abiding families like this could even be characterized as a form of bullying.

In Robin’s defense, she told me when I called her this morning that she had received conflicting guidance from the state Department of Education. She read the department’s written guidance which correctly explained that Option 4 and 5 families do not need to initiate a filing. But when she called the department, she received oral guidance that to get families “off her list,” they must tell the school what option they are choosing. Robin chose to follow the questionable oral guidance rather than the correct written guidance—hence the threatening letter.

She emphasized to me that her letter was intended primarily for folks who plan to dual enroll. Families who dual enroll, of course, need to file a Form A.

I asked Robin to send a letter of correction removing the threat to turn families in to the county attorney. She would not agree to do that. Then I asked her if all future letters of this nature would be written to state clearly that it only applies to dual-enrolling students. She agreed to do that.

If you are operating under Option 4 (Private Instruction, not filing Form A), you have the liberty to simply ignore the letter. If you believe you are in a particular situation where it would be wise to respond to the letter even though it is not legally required, feel free to do so, or call HSLDA for guidance.

If you are operating under Option 5 (Independent Private Instruction) and you received this letter addressed to you, you should send a very short letter listing the name of the child or children, primary instructor, location of the base of the IPI program (usually will be your home), and the person or entity responsible for the instruction. This will usually be the parent unless your child is in a non-accredited private school. It is not necessary to use a form, although the Network of Iowa Christian Home Educators has a form you can use.

The letter also asked families to call Robin if the children are no longer of compulsory age or if you have enrolled them in a school. You are under no obligation to do this.

Thank you for standing for liberty with HSLDA as we all practice a new level of freedom under HF 215!

Sincerely,

Scott A. Woodruff, Esq.,
Senior Counsel,
Home School Legal Defense Association

P.S. We greatly value you and your support—it is a privilege to serve you. Thank you for all you do for freedom! If you or someone you know is not a member of HSLDA, will you consider taking a moment today to join or recommend us? Your support enables us to defend individual families threatened by government officials and protect homeschooling freedom for all. Join now >>

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No one can be everywhere at once. And you can’t be at home, teaching your children, while monitoring your state’s legislature. Through electronic legislative services, HSLDA is monitoring state legislation for you— watching and listening carefully for any proposed laws that could erode your right to homeschool. Join HSLDA today—we’ll watch out for your future.

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