December 19, 2005

Michigan Attendance Officer Retreats from Jail Threat

After the local school district disregarded all petitions by the Lewis family asking for accommodation of their son's health problems, the family started homeschooling in October.

In December, the Lewises were surprised to be told by the Macomb Intermediate School District that they were in violation of the Compulsory School Attendance Act. The school cited the offense as failing to have the child attend school and scheduled a "school conference" between the family and the attendance officer. Ms. Lewis was told that failure to attend the school conference could lead to court action or even to her incarceration.

Home School Legal Defense Association Senior Counsel Chris Klicka immediately wrote to the school to inform them that the family was in full compliance with the compulsory attendance law by providing education for the child at home. Mr. Klicka also showed discrepancies in the school's stipulations: first, the "school conference," which was demanded, is not required by the law. Second, the family is in full compliance with the law through homeschooling, and therefore the threats of court action and incarceration were intolerable.

After receiving the letter, and recognizing her mistakes, the attendance officer called Mr. Klicka and agreed to cancel the scheduled school conference and to drop all charges of truancy against the Lewis family.