November 12, 2007

More Families Told To Enroll

Home School Legal Defense Association has received more contact this school year from homeschool families who have been told by their local public school officials that they must fill out an online “enrollment report form.”

Most of the contacts we have received occur when parents pull their children out of the public school in the middle of the school year. In some cases, the school official will fill out the online form for the parents when the family withdraws their child. The Indiana Department of Education (DOE) sent out a memo last year specifically asking public school officials to enroll all homeschool students online.

However, none of this is required by state law.

In State v. Peterman the Indiana Appellate Court held that the compulsory attendance law “was made for the parent who does not educate his child” and effectively ruled that a homeschool program is a private school. In Manzanec v. North Judson-San Pierre School Corporation the federal district court in northern Indiana stated that parents have the constitutional right to educate their children in a home environment.

A home-based private school parent is only required to provide the number of students by grade level to the DOE “on request of the state superintendent” under the Indiana Code 20-33-2-21(b). An online form on the DOE’s website requesting this information is not sufficient to legally trigger a parent’s obligation to submit this information.

The DOE’s stated purpose for collecting this information is to have “a centralized record for tracking home school enrollment data statewide.”