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April 8, 2011

HSLDA Arrives; Superintendent Does 180

When Ms. Manning (name changed to protect privacy) opened a letter from her local school district she was alarmed by this message: “I am denying your request [to homeschool].”

The superintendent was refusing to excuse the Manning children from compulsory attendance because he had not received receipts for their curriculum, and the children had received allegedly poor reading assessments. The reading assessments were the result of a surprise testing appointment set up by Ms. Manning’s former spouse. “Failure to enroll the children in school by the end of this week,” the superintendent wrote, “will result in filing truancy charges.”

Unfortunately, Ms. Manning had relied on a friend’s inaccurate advice and had not notified the school district of her intent to homeschool at the beginning of the school year. After being contacted by a truancy officer and learning about the requirement to submit a notice of intent, Ms. Manning complied with the law. She then found out about HSLDA and applied for a rush membership.

Because the superintendent was not following the law, HSLDA Staff Attorney Michael Donnelly communicated with him on Ms. Manning’s behalf to clarify Ohio’s homeschool law. The matter was referred to the school’s attorney, and after further correspondence, the superintendent excused the Manning children from public school attendance.

While being connected to other homeschoolers is important, it is just as important to get competent legal advice. HSLDA exists to help homeschoolers comply with the law but also to defend them when ignorant or zealous school officials overreach their authority. Had Ms. Manning been a member before she started homeschooling and sought our assistance, we could have assisted her and likely prevented a very stressful and threatening encounter with the school.

In an email to HSLDA, Ms. Manning wrote:

“I just wanted to express my deep gratitude to the both of you for the work and time you put into my case, and the support you have given me. I have received a letter from the Superintendent excusing my children from compulsory school attendance. Another victory for HSLDA! You guys are the best! Thank you so much again, and may the Lord bless you both and your organization abundantly!”

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