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North Carolina

January 22, 2009

Social Worker Threatens Truancy Charges

This past December a school social worker in Dunn (Harnett County) threatened truancy charges against a mother attempting to withdraw her daughters from public school to teach them at home. The school official insisted that the mother submit a card issued by the the North Carolina Division of Non-Public Education (DNPE) indicating that she had filed a notice of intent to operate a homeschool. While the mother had previously filed the required notice with DNPE, she resisted providing the school district with more information than was necessary and contacted Home School Legal Defense Association for guidance.

HSLDA Senior Counsel Dewitt Black sent a letter to the social worker and explained that state law does not require parents operating a homeschool to provide the local school district with a copy of any document from the DNPE acknowledging that the notice of intent to operate a homeschool had been properly filed. This correspondence from HSLDA was sufficient to resolve the difficulty encountered with our member family.

Families beginning to operate a homeschool during the school year should follow the procedure established by the public school for withdrawing a student. This normally involves signing a withdrawal form and related documentation. Otherwise, the public school may begin to count the child absent from school and bring truancy charges against the family. However, during the course of normal withdrawal, parents do not have to prove to the local public school officials that the family has chosen another educational option for the child as demanded by the official in Harnett County. Other member families encountering such difficulties should contact HSLDA for assistance as well.