September 2, 2004
River Valley School District Neglects to Note Exception to Compulsory Attendance Law

In the River Valley School District Images newsletter, the Superintendent included a paragraph entitled, "School Attendance." In the paragraph, the compulsory school attendance law was stated as follows,

[E]very parent, guardian or other person in the State of Michigan, having control and charge of any child between the ages of six and sixteen (16) years of age shall be required to send such a child to the public schools during the entire school year...

While this reference is accurate, the newsletter has left out significant exceptions to the law. The State of Michigan also provides that,

A child is not required to attend a public school if: The child is being educated at the child's home by his or her parent or legal guardian in an organized educational program in the subject areas of reading, spelling, mathematics, science, history, civics, literature, writing, and English grammar.

After an HSLDA member family told HSLDA staff about the newsletter, HSLDA staff telephoned the Superintendent of River Valley School District and told her that because the newsletter neglected to state the exceptions of the compulsory attendance law, the newsletter implied that a child is required by law to attend public school.

The Superintendent apologized, but assured HSLDA that the district was aware of the homeschool exception and that the newsletter was sent only to those families already enrolled in the school district for that current year. She stated that in no case was the newsletter sent specifically to a homeschool family. The only reason the HSLDA member family obtained the newsletter was because their student was enrolled in the public school's band. She did not feel the need to inform families of the homeschool exception to the compulsory attendance law since those receiving the newsletter had already opted to enroll their children in the public school.

If you live in the River Valley School District and received this newsletter, please note that the compulsory attendance law provides an exception for homeschool families.