October 3, 2003

"Registration" Myth Snares Richmond Family

We thought the once-popular myth that Indiana homeschoolers must "register" was dead and buried. The myth has resurfaced in Richmond, however.

In late September, a social worker sent a letter to an HSLDA member family in the Richmond area asking them to come to her office for an appointment she had arranged. She warned that "failure to keep this appointment could result in your case being referred to our attorney for possible legal action."

The family immediately contacted HSLDA for assistance. We advised the family to send a letter to the social worker authorizing her to talk to us. We subsequently called her and learned that the only allegation against the family was that the children were neither in school nor had they "registered."

Five days after receiving the social worker's letter, Vagas Ferguson, an "Attendance Liaison" with Richmond Community Schools, came to the home and handed the parents a letter. It demanded that the family submit a notice of intent to provide home instruction and "register" with the State Department of Education. The letter stated,

In the past you may not have had to complete these forms and submit them. But the state now requires that a school district have families provide this information each school year if they intend to educate their children at home.

We have written letters to the social worker and the attendance liaison explaining that neither a notice of intent nor registration is required under state law. We have informed them that the family is in full compliance with Indiana compulsory education law.

For years, HSLDA fought running battles with local prosecutors, truant officers, and social workers trying to convince them of the seemingly obvious proposition that state law does not require homeschool families to "register." The Indiana Department of Education referred to "registration" on its website, providing additional fuel for the fire.

Because we were persistent, the myth has receded over time. The Department of Education helped bring this unhappy era to an end by setting the record straight on its website.

We need your help to ensure that myth of "registration" remains dead and buried. If you hear anyone refer to it, explain that Indiana law does not require homeschoolers to register. If we allow the myth to linger, one day we could find ourselves facing legislators who want to turn the myth into reality. You can help protect home school liberty in Indiana by understanding and exercising your rights, and informing others.