July 28, 2008

Family Threatened and Told to Submit Affidavit

A Home School Legal Defense Association member family in the Metropolitan School District of Warren Township received a rather threatening letter from school officials, along with a form entitled “Notice of Intent to Provide Home Instruction.” The family was told that if they failed to fill out and return the form, school officials would notify child protective services and the Marion County prosecutor’s office. The Mauriers (name changed to protect privacy) immediately contacted us for help.

After talking with the family, HSLDA Staff Attorney Thomas Schmidt learned that the school’s letter was sent in response to the Mauriers’ courtesy notice that their two children would not be returning to the public school system for next year.

Aside from the letter’s inappropriate threats, the form requested information not required under Indiana law. For instance, it requested the date homeschooling would start, the child’s date of birth, and the parent’s full name and telephone number. The form was to be notarized and would remain “in full force and effect for no longer than the end of the current or upcoming school year.”

Schmidt contacted the Warren Township Office of School Improvement and informed them that the letter and form went beyond what was required under state law and were completely unwarranted. Under Indiana law, a parent is required to maintain attendance records “solely to verify the enrollment and attendance of the particular child.” A parent is only required to provide the number of children by grade level at the request of the state superintendent of public instruction. No notification of homeschooling is required to be submitted to local school officials unless a child is being pulled out of public school in the middle of the school year.

HSLDA expects the Mauriers to have no further difficulties.