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New York

January 4, 2006

NYC's Region 7 Mistakenly Threatens Every Homeschooler with Educational Neglect

Just in time for Christmas, every homeschool family in Region 7 of the New York City school system received a letter indicating that they were out of compliance with the law.

The letter falsely claimed the families had failed to submit a completed Individualized Home Instruction Plan (IHIP) form for their children. The letter concluded with a threat to report them for educational neglect to the State Education Department if each family did not submit an IHIP form by January 3, 2006.

HSLDA received numerous contacts from members who had already submitted IHIP forms for their children. In fact, every family we spoke with had submitted their forms months earlier. Several families were concerned that New York City's Region 7 had lost their paperwork and would report them for educational neglect even though they were in compliance.

HSLDA Staff Attorney Thomas Schmidt immediately contacted the Region 7 Homeschool Coordinator Renee Coppola in an effort to resolve the issue. Ms. Coppola explained that a secretary had mistakenly sent this letter to every homeschooling family in the region—not just to those who had not yet returned their IHIP forms.

Ms. Coppola apologized for the mistake and assured HSLDA that all of the families who contacted us were in compliance. Schmidt strongly urged Ms. Coppola to send a written apology and explanation for the first letter.

Schmidt also pointed out that parents, not New York City public education officials, are to select the quarterly report dates. In their letter of December 20, 2005, Region 7 officials stated that "due dates for submittal of the Quarterly Reports are: 11/30/05, 1/30/06, 4/30/06, and 6/30/06."

While a parent may use the dates suggested by their local school district, they are not legally required to do so. As their schedule may differ from the public school system a homeschool parent may select quarterly report dates that are more appropriate for their situation. These dates must be indicated in the IHIP. The dates should be in even and logical intervals with the fourth quarterly report submitted no later than June 30.

We have every reason to believe that the current situation in Region 7 has been resolved. Should any member have any further difficulties please don't hesitate to contact HSLDA for help.