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Alabama

March 5, 2008

Family Narrowly Escapes Truancy Charges

Home School Legal Defense Association recently assisted a member family in Cleburne County, Alabama, when they were threatened with truancy charges for failing to file a church school enrollment form with the local public school superintendent. After receiving a report that the family’s children were not enrolled in school, a truant officer went to the home to deliver a notice that truancy charges were about to be filed unless the children were enrolled in school. As it turned out, the children were receiving home instruction and were enrolled in a church school in Montgomery. However, no church school enrollment form had been filed locally by the parent or the church school.

When the truant officer came to the home, the parent contacted HSLDA Senior Counsel Dewitt Black for assistance. Black spoke with the school official and provided assurance that the parent would promptly file the church school enrollment form with the local superintendent. After this was accomplished, the school district ceased further legal action against the family.

Section 16-28-7 of the Alabama Code requires the parent, guardian, or other person in charge of a child to file a church school enrollment form with the local public school superintendent. This form may be obtained from the superintendent’s office. It must be signed by both the parent and the administrator of the church school. While many church schools file the enrollment form with the public school superintendent as a courtesy to the parent, the law is clear it is the parent’s responsibility to ensure that the form has been properly filed. HSLDA recommends that parents have a clear understanding with their church school about who will file the enrollment form with the superintendent in order to avoid unnecessary and anxiety-producing contacts by public school officials.