March 8, 2010

“We Are Required to Obtain a Declaration of Homeschooled Students”

The Jackson R-2 School District sent a letter to area homeschool families in March telling them that the school district “is required to obtain a declaration of homeschooled students on an annual basis in order to complete February state reporting.”

The form accompanying the letter called for information not required to be included in the optional declaration of enrollment, including the birth date and grade of any children being homeschooled. The form invited parents to sign a statement saying, “This letter is being sent to allow you to relinquish [your] responsibility by clearing your records, and to exit my son/daughter from the public school system.”

This combination of misinformation and implied threats did not convince Wade and Beth Fisher (name changed to protect their privacy). They sent the documents they received to HSLDA for guidance. HSLDA confirmed that they had no duty to fill out the form or respond in any way. The declaration of enrollment mentioned in the statutes is strictly optional. It is rarely, if ever, to a family’s advantage to fill it out.

HSLDA Senior Counsel Scott Woodruff followed up with a letter to the school district explaining that families have no obligation to file the optional declaration of enrollment, and school districts have no obligation to push families into submitting one. Woodruff also asked the school district to stop threatening families by implying that the only way to remove a child from public school is by using the school system’s declaration of enrollment.