|HSLDA News||February 14, 2002|
County Official Sends Letter of Apology
Recently, a Home School Legal Defense Association member family was shocked at the behavior of their county court clerk. When they visited the courthouse to obtain a driver's permit for their home schooled daughter, they were given a form to fill out-a form that specifically exempted home schoolers from filling out certain portions. Despite clear wording on the form, the county official insisted that the family had to fill out the portions designed for public and private school students. He then told them that the form needed a public school seal.
The clerk ignored their repeated efforts to explain the law, so the family wound up spending several hours trying to get a public school seal placed on their application. Later that day, after much unnecessary effort, the family was finally able to obtain the driver's permit.
Far from satisfied with the clerk's handling of the situation, Mrs. A. contacted HSLDA to see if something could be done to shield other home schooling families in the area from experiencing similar difficulties. HSLDA Attorney Scott Somerville wrote a letter to the court clerk, explaining that neither state law nor the plain language of the form requires additional information or a school seal from home schooled students. The letter ends with, "We prefer to settle matters in a non-adversarial manner, so we would be satisfied, at this point, with your acknowledgement that home schoolers may complete Form AOC-299 without needing the public school seal. Please review this matter and respond at your earliest convenience."
In a rapid reversal of position, the court clerk responded with a letter of apology. His excuse was that the form was new to him and his staff. The form may have been new, but it was quite clear. It reads:
To be official, the school seal must be affixed to this form.
For options A & B
A. High School Enrollment Verification
B. School Districts Not Particpating
C. Home School Verification
Many government employees are either unaware of the rights of home schoolers under the law or choose to disregard them. HSLDA member families should be prepared to explain their rights and to contact our office if they are violated.