by Fran Eaton
Homeschoolers: If someone comes to your door, demanding to see your children's textbooks, kindly but firmly tell them they're out of line and close the door. It's just that simple.
Home School Legal Defense Association just released an e-lert to their Illinois members, reminding them that school officials have no authority to demand registration or evaluation of their school textbooks.
Truancy officers in downstate Franklin/Williamson Counties evidently believe Illinois law allows public schools to determine whether private schools which meet in the home are offering an acceptable education.
Reminds one of a McDonald's inspector appointing himself to determine whether or not a Wendy's salad is acceptable for consumption.
As more and more parents remove their children from an atmosphere and curriculum which undermines their root beliefs like the public school system does, this trend of nosy, out-of-line school officials will accelerate if not squelched.
Add to that state senators such as Deanna Demuzio who want home schools to be more accountable to the state, and we're ripe for another legislative confrontation similar to the one homeschoolers faced in 1999. . .
>From the HSLDA E-lert Service...
Illinois: Officials Visit Homeschool
Families Demanding to See Curriculum
Dear HSLDA members and friends:
A few weeks ago an Illinois member received a visit from school officials in the Franklin/Williamson District. They stated that they were visiting all the homeschoolers in the area, requesting that each homeschool family fill out a form to register their homeschool with the state. Our member knew better then to fill out the form and sent the officials away.
Apparently, however, the school officials were not satisfied with our member's response to their first visit. They came back after having consulted with the school's attorney on the matter, but this time with a truant officer. The truant officer stated that after consulting with the school's attorney, she learned that although they cannot require the registration forms to be filled out, they could demand to see the family's homeschool curriculum.
Our member family, not to be pushed around, again told the truant officer this was not required, and would not let the truant officer see her curriculum. The truant officer and school district official eventually left.
The family contacted Home School Legal Defense Association. We immediately drafted a letter and sent it to the truant officer. The letter explained that they had no right to demand to see the curriculum and that the family was following the Illinois homeschool law.
If you live in Illinois and receive a visit from school officials demanding to see your curriculum or asking you to fill out a form, do not let these people in your home; do not let them see your curriculum; and do not fill out the form. The district does not have a legal right to require this. If you are unsure of how to handle the situation, please contact HSLDA immediately, even while the officials are at your doorstep.
In a related development, Williamson County State's Attorney Charles Garnati last Tuesday held a press conference, reminding parents of the strict truancy laws governing Williamson County.
According to the Southern Illinoisan (Carbondale, Il.) on September 6, 2006, on page 2B, Garnati said homeschooling parents aren't exempt from truancy policies governing Williamson County students.
"The law does give ROE authority to go in and check out the curriculum to make sure it's been done in a correct way," Garnati said.
Parents convicted of allowing their child to remain truant could face up to a $1,500 fine and up to 30 days in the county jail, Garnati said.
Christopher J. Klicka, Esq.
HSLDA Senior Counsel
The HSLDA E-lert Service is a service of:
Home School Legal Defense Association
P.O. Box 3000
Purcellville, Virginia 20134
Phone: (540) 338-5600
Fax: (540) 338-2733