The Law And Families That Homeschool

August 2, 2016
Homeschool Law

You may not realize how many families are opting to homeschool their children. It is a growing trend. However, there are challenges and even legal traps that can await the family choosing to homeschool their children.

For instance, here in Tennessee, a boy was declared a “unruly” and charged with truancy (a crime). Why?

Mr. and Mrs. Henry decided to withdraw their son Chad from public school and homeschool him. In compliance with Tennessee law, they enrolled him in a private, church-related school. The school district then requested several times that the family register Chad as a homeschool student “associated with a church-related school.” Since this registration is not required by law, Mr. and Mrs. Henry declined.

Two months later, the Henry family received notice that their son was being charged with truancy as an “unruly child.” They contacted HomeSchool Legal Defense Association (HSLDA) for assistance, and they immediately called the school district to determine why the family was being charged.

The school district claimed at first that the family had not registered Chad. Upon being informed in a faxed letter that the parents were not legally required to do so, another representative from the school district then claimed that the parents had not signed the proper withdrawal forms. When Mr. Henry and his son went to the public school to formally sign him out, however, the story changed yet again. An official with the high school declared that it was Chad’s teachers, not the parents, who needed to sign the withdrawal forms.

Chad was able to secure the signatures of all the teachers he’d had in public school. After this information was sent to the school district, the district withdrew the truancy charges, and the family was left alone to homeschool. “The school district acted in a heavy-handed manner. It should not have overreacted and filed truancy charges,” said James R. Mason, III, HSLDA litigation attorney. “We’re glad that we were able to intervene and protect this member family, but it never should have gone this far.”

While this is an isolated case, many parents and even some educators, are not all sure what the law allows. As such, if you are considering homeschooling, you will want to know both your legal responsibilities, and your legal rights.

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