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Illinois

September 11, 2006

Officials Visit Homeschool Families Demanding to See Curriculum

A few weeks ago an Illinois member received a visit from school officials in the Franklin/Williamson District. They stated that they were visiting all the homeschoolers in the area, requesting that each homeschool family fill out a form to register their homeschool with the state. Our member knew better then to fill out the form and sent the officials away.

Apparently, however, the school officials were not satisfied with our member’s response to their first visit. They came back after having consulted with the school’s attorney on the matter, but this time with a truant officer. The truant officer stated that after consulting with the school’s attorney, she learned that although they cannot require the registration forms to be filled out, they could demand to see the family’s homeschool curriculum.

Our member family, not to be pushed around, again told the truant officer this was not required, and would not let the truant officer see her curriculum. The truant officer and school district official eventually left.

The family contacted Home School Legal Defense Association. We immediately drafted a letter and sent it to the truant officer. The letter explained that they had no right to demand to see the curriculum and that the family was following the Illinois homeschool law.

If you live in Illinois and receive a visit from school officials demanding to see your curriculum or asking you to fill out a form, do not let these people in your home; do not let them see your curriculum; and do not fill out the form. The district does not have a legal right to require this. If you are unsure of how to handle the situation, please contact HSLDA immediately, even while the officials are at your doorstep.

In a related development, Williamson County State’s Attorney Charles Garnati last Tuesday held a press conference, reminding parents of the strict truancy laws governing Williamson County.

According to the Southern Illinoisan (Carbondale, Il.) on September 6, 2006, on page 2B, Garnati said homeschooling parents aren't exempt from truancy policies governing Williamson County students.

“The law does give ROE authority to go in and check out the curriculum to make sure it's been done in a correct way,” Garnati said.

Parents convicted of allowing their child to remain truant could face up to a $1,500 fine and up to 30 days in the county jail, Garnati said.