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Official Apologizes for Discrimination over Driver’s License
When an HSLDA member took her 17-year-old son to the local branch of the Texas Department of Public Safety (DPS) to renew his driver’s license, she submitted the required “Verification of Enrollment” (VOE) form with her signature. The form, which is required for any driver under the age of 18, verifies that the student is enrolled in school and is maintaining good attendance.
In most cases, Texas DPS offices accept parent-signed VOE forms from homeschoolers, but in this case the clerk did not, claiming that a new policy required homeschoolers to submit attendance records, a report card or curriculum to prove that they are homeschooled. In response, the mother explained that in Texas homeschools have the same legal status as private schools, and that if private schools are not required to submit additional documentation, her homeschool should not be required to do so. The clerk insisted that the policy applied to all students, and suggested that the family return with her son’s textbooks as proof of his attendance in school.
After driving home to retrieve her son’s curriculum, the mother returned to the DPS office where she and her son were met by a different clerk. They presented the VOE form to the new clerk who consulted a co-worker when she realized that the son was homeschooled. Instructed to request curriculum, the clerk simply glanced at the one Saxon math book the mother presented. The clerk did not open the book or document it in any way, but did renew the boy’s license.
Ironically, the family knew another student of the same age as their son who visited the same DPS branch to renew his license. Enrolled in a local Christian private school, he also presented a VOE form which was signed by his school administrators, and the office immediately issued his renewed license with no requests for additional documentation.
When the family called Home School Legal Defense Association to report the discrimination, HSLDA Texas Attorney Tom Sanders wrote a letter to the local DPS office as well as the state-level office to address the problem. The assistant manager of the Texas DPS Driver License Division quickly responded with an apology for the family’s unfair treatment. In his letter, he also confirmed that homeschool families need only to submit a completed VOE and explained that the incident was due to a misinterpretation of previous instructions to the local office. He assured HSLDA that he has advised the local DPS staff of the correct procedures for homeschooled students and ensured that they will be properly followed in the future.
HSLDA appreciates the assistant manager’s prompt reply and correction of the problem and has notified the family of his handling of the situation.