October 29, 2013

Rice Lake Withdraws Request for Private Information

Scott Woodruff answers questions and assists members regarding legal issues in Wisconsin. He and his wife homeschooled their children. Read more >>

A staff member at Rice Lake Area School District sent a letter to an HSLDA member seeking information that homeschool families are not required to submit.

The author of the letter acknowledged that the family had submitted a proper notice of enrollment (which she incorrectly referred to as an “application for homeschooling”), but went on to say that she was “unable to locate your child in our student information system.” She requested the children’s names, dates of birth, gender and grade levels.

HSLDA Senior Counsel Scott Woodruff called the author of the letter.  He asked what had prompted the letter in the first place.  The author said that she was new at her job and had called the state Department of Public Instruction for guidance. The DPI representative told her that follow-up with homeschool families was her responsibility.  The author interpreted that to mean that she needed identifying information on every child being homeschooled in her school district.

Woodruff explained to the author how Wisconsin homeschool law works, and in particular that the annual notice of enrollment which public schools, private schools and homeschools file is not designed to capture personal information about students. The author acknowledged that she does not include any student names when she files the annual notice of enrollment for her own school system.

Woodruff explained that the effort to obtain personal information about homeschool students was neither necessary nor consistent with state law.  She promptly offered to send a letter of correction telling families that they could disregard her letter.

We appreciate the school system’s quick effort to set things straight.

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