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April 17, 2003
Citrus County Florida Hassles New Homeschooler

In early December, the Mullis family of Beverly Hills withdrew their child, began homeschooling, and within a few days notified the Citrus Count School District. Although Florida law gives parents 30 days following a child's withdrawal from public school to notify the school district of their intention to homeschool, the district decided to count the three days between the withdrawal and the notification as unexcused absences. As a result they have instituted a statutory process that requires the family to go before a panel to have their portfolio reviewed after 30 days of homeschooling. The district also gave Mr. and Mrs. Mullis a three-day notice that truancy charges would be filed.

Home School Legal Defense Association immediately intervened to prevent truancy charges from being filed. Meanwhile, the school district still insisted the child was truant after being verbally withdrawn from public school even though the "notice of intent" was filed three days later. A hearing was scheduled before a "portfolio review committee," but HSLDA counseled the family not to attend and sent a letter on their behalf.

Finally, at the end of March, the school attorney contacted HSLDA and informed us that he was instructing the school district to change their attendance records to reflect the legality of their homeschool.