May 14, 2008

Family Receives Truancy Notice

A member family in northern Indiana was surprised to receive a letter from a local child advocacy center in their community. The letter stated that their son had been absent from school without excuse and that a meeting would be necessary to decide if further action would be taken.

The Hart family (not their real name) had pulled their son out of the public school about a month before to homeschool him. They also had voluntarily completed the online homeschool enrollment form with the Indiana Department of Education. However, alarmed by the letter, the Hart family contacted the Home School Legal Defense Association for help.

HSLDA Staff Attorney Tj Schmidt immediately contacted the truancy prevention specialist who wrote the letter. Schmidt informed the caseworker that the Harts had withdrawn their son from public school to homeschool him, and that they were in compliance with Indiana law.

During the conversation, it quickly came apparent that local public school had failed to formally withdraw the child. The school was also counting some school days missed earlier in the year against the family and had referred the family to the truancy specialist.

Schmidt followed up the conversation with a letter and explained what homeschool parents were required to do under Indiana law. The Harts also provided some minimal documentation to verify they were homeschooling their son and sent a certified letter insisting that their child be removed from the public school attendance rolls.

The family has had no further problems.