An Ohio school district has found a new way to discourage families from homeschooling. The unidentified district simply refused to accept any notices of intent from homeschool families — even official documents, says the Home School Legal Defense Association (HSDLA).
Even though a mother complied with all the district’s requests, officials refused to accept her homeschooling application until she called an attorney, according to HSDLA.
The controversy began when the parents withdrew their son midway through the spring semester.
“That same day, the parents hand-delivered a notice of intent to homeschool to the school district. From the beginning, the district caused problems,” HSLDA attorney Mike Donnelly wrote.
The district told the parents that “until the parents notified the county educational service centers (ESCs) of their intent to withdraw,” their son was truant.
The parents then contacted the ESC and were told that their notice to the local district “was all that was necessary to withdraw their son,” Donnelly wrote.
The family subsequently sent another notice of intent to the school district – this time by certified mail.
“A few days later, the mother received a call from the assistant principal, who insisted that the family file their intent to homeschool via a specific county form,” Donnelly wrote.
The mother then filled out the form – the third attempt at filing a notice – but was told by email that the district was “unable to process [their] request” and that they should notify the ESC. HSLDA responded for the family, telling the superintendent that Ohio law “requires notification to and excuse from the local superintendent, not the ESC.”
“The next day, the school’s attorney notified HSLDA that she was reviewing the situation,” Donnelly wrote. “However, the school district also sent an email to the family, threatening to discard the notification form if no one picked it up within a week. HSLDA contacted the school’s attorney again, expressing concern that the district would seek to destroy a lawfully submitted document.”
In response, the school’s attorney assured HSLDA that the district would not “take measures to hamper your client’s interest in homeschooling” and that the excuse “process is now underway,” Donnelly wrote.
After “prolonged correspondence” with the school’s attorney, “the parents received written confirmation that their child had been excused for homeschooling effective the date they originally submitted the original notice of intent” – that is, the date they had turned it in two months before.
“Many Ohio districts insist that families seeking to withdraw their students from the public school system use a specific notification form to do so, or send notification to the county educational service center,” Donnelly wrote. “HSLDA continues to advocate for our Ohio member families and educate school districts of their responsibility under Ohio law.”
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