April 6, 2010

Threatening Truancy Officer Backs Off after Contact from HSLDA

When the Daltons (name changed to protect privacy) decided to withdraw their daughter Emily, who had an individualized education plan, from public school to educate her at home, they filed a notice of intent as required by Vermont’s homeschool law. They were shocked to receive a visit the very next day from an abrasive and blustery truancy officer.

The truancy officer demanded that the Daltons keep their daughter in school until the Vermont Department of Education “approved” their homeschooling her. He threatened the family with a truancy charge and a $1,000 fine if Emily were not in school the next day. Contrary to the truancy officer’s misperception, Vermont parents file a notice of intent and do not seek “approval” from the Vermont Department of Education.

The family called HSLDA and asked if they could continue homeschooling or if they had to send their daughter back to school. HSLDA Staff Attorney Mike Donnelly immediately faxed a two-page letter to the local public school superintendent explaining that the family was in compliance with the law and cautioned the district against infringing upon the family’s fundamental right to educate their children at home. The Daltons have not heard from the school district since.

Our mission is to defend the rights of parents to home-educate their children. These types of situations are, unfortunately, more common when families withdraw children during the school year. Misinformed and misguided public school officials often require an explanation of the law, and in cases like this, a stern rebuke. HSLDA is pleased to advocate on behalf of its member families who seek to remove their children from public school and educate them at home.