December 10, 2001

Nine Tennessee Counties Misunderstand Home School Law

So far during the 20012002 school year, Home School Legal Defense Association has assisted member families in nine Tennessee counties insisting that their high school students be registered at the public school. All of the children of these families are enrolled in church-school extension programs, not home schools. The counties where these families reside include Washington, McMinn, Lincoln, Robertson, Roane, Obion, Sevier, Jackson, and Bledsoe.

State law requires that parents conducting a home school associated with a church-related school must register their students in grades 9 through 12 at the public school and participate in state testing.

However, parents whose children are enrolled in church-related school extension or satellite programs are not considered to be conducting a "home school" and do not have to comply with the public school registration requirements. This option for complying with the compulsory attendance law was expressly recognized by the Tennessee State Department of Education in a memorandum dated February 18, 1999, distributed to all local public school superintendents.

Thankfully, whenever an HSLDA Tennessee member family's decision to participate in a church-related school's extension or satellite program has been challenged by public school officials, our efforts to assist have been successful.