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Pennsylvania

December 12, 2007

Superintendent Terminates Home Education Program Without Authority

On November 5, 2007, the superintendent of General McLane School District notified an HSLDA member family that he had terminated their home education program because they had failed to submit quarterly reports to his office. According to the superintendent’s letter to the family, he had approved their program at the beginning of the school year on the condition that the quarterly reports be submitted “to insure sufficient work had been completed and that you are on track in your instruction.” Knowing that state law did not require the quarterly reports, the mother serving as the supervisor of the home education program did not submit the documentation to the superintendent. The superintendent’s letter stated that the mother was required to enroll her son in the public elementary school within three days. It also threatened the mother with truancy charges should she not enroll her son in public school by the deadline established by the superintendent.

HSLDA Senior Counsel Dewitt Black immediately faxed a letter to the superintendent informing him that state law did not permit local school districts to require submission of quarterly reports in a home education program. He explained that the family in question was in full compliance with Pennsylvania’s homeschool law and did not intend to submit the quarterly reports, stop homeschooling their son, or enroll him in public school.

Despite being informed of his legal limitations, the superintendent proceeded to initiate a truancy prosecution against the HSLDA member. On November 16, 2007, the mother was served with a summons to appear in court for violation of Pennsylvania’s compulsory attendance law. HSLDA defended the mother in this action and convinced the school district’s solicitor to drop the charges before our member had to go to court.