January 13, 2010

Attendance Officer Threatens New Homeschoolers

A family in Escambia County received a threat of prosecution for truancy last fall after they had withdrawn their two children from public school to instruct them at home. Dissatisfied with the treatment their children were receiving in public school, this family formally withdrew the children on October 23, 2009, but did not immediately enroll them in a church school as an alternative. As a result, on November 6, two weeks after the children’s withdrawal, the attendance officer for the Escambia County Board of Education sent a notice to the parents that they would be summoned to appear in juvenile court unless their children were enrolled in school within three days. This threat prompted the family to contact Home School Legal Defense Association for assistance.

HSLDA recommended that the parents immediately enroll their children in a church school and file a church school enrollment form with the local public school superintendent. The parents followed our advice, and, as a result, the attendance officer decided to take no further action.

To avoid this kind of difficulty, HSLDA recommends that families file the church school enrollment form with the local superintendent at the same time they withdraw their children from public school.