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South Dakota

August 15, 2017

A Series of Unfortunate Forms—and the Vanishing Staff

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Landon Farmer LANDON FARMER
Legal Assistant for South Dakota

Last summer, a member family withdrew their children from public school in North Dakota, moved to South Dakota, and began homeschooling. They quickly encountered bizarre—and misguided—demands from the local public school.

Fast forward to a few weeks ago. It all started after school wrapped up for the summer: the mother called a school official in the new district to inquire if the California Achievement Test was acceptable for the required testing in grades 4, 8, and 11. The official correctly answered yes, but incorrectly added that the mother must test her 10th grader as well.

Later that week, a different worker from the school called the mother with a list of unlawful demands. She told the mother to sign a release of information form, sign a public school enrollment form, and submit birth certificates and immunization records to the school. The officials asserted that the mother would not be homeschooling legally until she signed the forms, which were then mailed to the mother.

Anybody There?

Seeking guidance, the mother called HSLDA. Our legal team promptly contacted the district. Although the officials who had spoken to the mother had all gone home for the summer, HSDLA was able to reach an official who was still in the office.

This official reiterated that Diane must have her children’s records transferred to the South Dakota school, and that she must fill out public school enrollment forms. The official dropped the demand for birth certificates, saying the certificates had been located. When asked, the official agreed to email HSLDA the complete list of forms Diane was told to submit.

Surprisingly, the official emailed HSLDA later that day, saying “Please inform [the mother] that we will not be needing any more information and she can disregard the forms that we sent her.”

HSLDA is glad the school official reversed gears, recognized the mistake, and relinquished the unlawful demands.