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Rhode Island

February 26, 2004

Coventry Public Schools Backs Down From Investigating Eighteen Year Old For Truancy

Soon after they filed a notice of intent, a Coventry Rhode Island member family received numerous phone calls from a secretary at the school informing them of Ashley's* "absences."

The family thought that they could avoid any problems because Ashley was 18 years old. Compulsory attendance ends in Rhode Island at age 16. However, the problem did not go away. The school truancy officer called and threatened to investigate the family for truancy. Our member told the truancy officer that Ashley was 18 and exempt from the compulsory attendance requirement. However, the truancy officer demanded that the family still go through the homeschool approval process, or risk an investigation.

The family called HSLDA for help. HSLDA sent a letter to Superintendent Vincent Hawkins to notify him that Ashley was 18, and asked him to investigate why the school harassed our member family. In a subsequent phone conversation, Superintendent Hawkins' secretary admitted that the truancy officer had mistakenly assumed that Ashley was still under the compulsory attendance requirement. The secretary promised to inform the truancy officer about her mistake, and promised that the school would no longer harass the family.

*Not her real name.