May 5, 2004
Michigan Homeschoolers Under Attack

Two veteran homeschool families in the Calhoun Intermediate School District, both HSLDA member families, received notices from the district of their "violation" of the compulsory attendance law. The notices demanded that the families place their children in public school, stating that failure to do so would result in fines and imprisonment.

The school district was aware that these families were exercising their constitutional and statutory rights to homeschool, having communicated on this point in years past.

Without any prior notification, these families received the notice informing them that they were in violation for not having their children in public school. Each notice demanded that the children in each family be placed in public school the day after receiving the notice.

In a very threatening tone, each notice indicated that failure to place their children in school immediately would result in "court action." Upon conviction, it threatened, the family with financial penalty, or "imprisonment for not less than two or more than ninety days," or both.

Parents in Michigan are free to educate their children at home, and are not required to have any contact with the local school system. Despite this educational freedom, Calhoun Intermediate School District continually insists that homeschoolers must fill out extensive paperwork "proving" that they are in compliance. HSLDA has repeatedly explained the homeschool law to this district and has clarified that families are not required to give the district any information.

The two families who received notices contacted HSLDA and notified our legal staff of the situation. HSLDA senior counsel Chris Klicka immediately sent a letter to the attendance officer, advising this person of each family's right to homeschool. Attorney Klicka warned the attendance officer that she could be personally liable under Title 42, Section 1983 of the United States Code, as she knowingly threatened these families with criminal action for exercising their constitutional and statutory rights.

The two member families did not send their children to public school and the school district relented in their demands. We are carefully monitoring the situation to ensure that the Calhoun Intermediate School District respects the rights of homeschoolers.