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Tennessee

September 7, 2006
Family in Giles County Investigated

After a social worker with the Giles County Department of Children’s Services (DCS) received a report that a homeschooling family did not have their children enrolled in school and did not have legal custody of their adopted children, she enlisted the assistance of the attendance supervisor at Giles County Schools to investigate the allegations. The social worker and the attendance officer went together to the home of the Home School Legal Defense Association member family and sought entry to interview family members. The mother of the children denied the officials access to her home but offered to provide proof of the children’s enrollment in a church-related school and documentation regarding her children's adoption. After the officials left her home, the mother contacted HSLDA seeking advice about how to respond to the social worker’s insistence that the parents present their children to be interviewed the next day.

After the church-related school faxed proof of the children’s enrollment to the attendance officer, HSLDA Senior Counsel Dewitt Black faxed a letter to both the social worker and attendance officer asserting that the family was in compliance with Tennessee’s compulsory attendance requirements. Black also followed up with a call to the attendance officer who stated that he considered the case closed. Black told the social worker in the letter that the parents would meet with her and provide proof of legal adoption of the children but would not present the children to be interviewed by state officials. Black pointed out that DCS had received no report of abuse or neglect of the children. After receiving this correspondence from HSLDA, the social worker met with only the parents and accepted the proof they offered for legal adoption of their children.