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Illinois

January 30, 2004

Infamous School Superintendent Continues to Harass Homeschoolers

Last year, Superintendent Bruce Dennison, Regional Superintendent of Stark, Henry, and Bureau Counties caused much concern by his aggressive harassment of homeschoolers. The superintendent demanded home visits and curriculum reviews, sent truancy officers and police cars to homeschooler's homes to deliver notices for pre-trial hearings. After showing Dennison that such enforcement measures were illegal and a violation of the families' civil rights, HSLDA attorney Chris Klicka was able to persuade him to abandon such tactics. The situations were all resolved.

Unfortunately, Dennison has recently started harassing other homeschoolers. The good news is that HSLDA has been able to resolve every situation where a member family is contacted by Dennison's office. Dennison's new mode of operation is to contact families with a letter stating that it is his responsibility to verify that the family is in compliance with state law. As a result, he requests that the family complete the Statement of Assurance form. Homeschoolers may complete this form, but it is not required by law.

Two HSLDA member families-one in Henry County and another in Stark County-were recently turned over to the County State's Attorney's office for "failure to comply" with Dennison's demands.

When these families chose not to complete this voluntary form, Dennison immediately turned the matter over to the County State's Attorney's office for possible prosecution.

HSLDA has been able to intervene in each of these situations to prevent prosecution and we have informed Bruce Dennison of our objections to this harassment. We will continue to protect homeschoolers from these heavy-handed tactics.