Homeschoolers in Indiana were taken back after discovering that a local public school superintendent publicly announced to the community that homeschoolers must register in her school district – and that failure to do so was unlawful.
While being interviewed by a local newspaper about an area school closing its doors, the school official implied that she was on the lookout for a handful of students who slipped under the district’s radar.
The Home School Legal Defense Association (HSLDA) indicates that the superintendent most likely gave little thought to how local homeschoolers would receive her public announcement about the “missing students” under her watch – students who she insisted were evading the system and breaking the law.
“In a story about the recent closing of a local elementary school, Pike County School Corporation Superintendent Suzanne Blake told The Press-Dispatch that about 10 of the former students at the school were unaccounted for,” HSLDA reported. “She speculated that some of them ‘could be homeschooled’ but added that she hadn’t received confirmation that this was true.”
Blake stressed during her interview that the unaccounted-for students must turn themselves in and be processed as students in the district if their homeschooling parents want to avoid educating their students illegally outside of the system.
“If a family is homeschooling, they still have to register with the state … so that they are in compliance with the education attendance law,” the superintendent contended.
Correct reading of the law
Fearful that Blake would cause legal problems for their family, a couple of homeschooling parents sought legal advice on the matter from HSLDA. As a result, HSLDA Staff Attorney Tj Schmidt alerted both the superintendent and the local newspaper about Indiana state law concerning education – specifically in regards to homeschoolers.
“[Schmidt’s letter to the two] explained that homeschooling parents in Indiana are not required to ‘register’ their homeschool programs with the Indiana Department of Education (DOE),” HSLDA attorneys informed.
In the letter, Schmidt stressed that the DOE in Indiana explicitly states that reporting homeschool enrollment is optional for parents – and such enrollment records are only submitted on a strictly voluntary basis.
“While some homeschooling families might choose to [report], they are not in violation of Indiana’s compulsory attendance law if they do not do so,” Schmidt told Blake and The Press-Dispatch in his letter.
No more misinformation and intimidation …
HSLDA attorneys do not expect any further misinformation to be disseminated to homeschooling parents in the Indiana school district.
The nonprofit Christian legal organization is now confident that local school officials will no longer intimidate parents into believing that they are under any obligation to give their local school district any more information than they are required to submit by law.
Parents across America are encouraged by legal experts at HSLDA to know and understand the law when it comes to homeschooling their children – and to seek professional legal advice if local school officials press them for information --or other “compliance” – that is questionable in their eyes. It is argued that taking such preventative measures and understanding parental rights will help home educators maintain the quality of instruction that they desire for their children – without undue government interference or regulations.