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Educational Neglect Investigation
A Home School Legal Defense Association member family in New York City recently received a letter from Child Protective Services that they were being investigated for educational neglect because they taught their child at home. It was reported to social services that the Galloway family (not their real name) had not submitted the required paperwork and that their child had not taken the English Language Arts (ELA) and Math test for the 4th grade.
The Galloways contacted HSLDA attorney Thomas Schmidt immediately for help. Schmidt spoke with the caseworker and his supervisor and informed them about the requirements under the Commissioner's Regulations. Schmidt explained to social services that a homeschool student is not required to take the state ELA and Math tests for the 4th grade. Under the regulations the Galloways would not even need to test their child until the 5th grade and they could use any standardized achievement test.
Schmidt also contacted the regional homeschool representative to ensure that he correctly understood the regulations concerning the annual assessment for home instruction programs.
During the course of the investigation the caseworker demanded to come into the home and speak with their child. However, the Galloways refused on the basis that they were in compliance with the law and were not required to permit social services into their home. After Schmidt sent a letter explaining the Galloway's constitutional rights and HSLDA's willingness to defend the family in court the social worker closed the case.