October 13, 2005

School Concedes Form was Voluntary

In Braggs, Oklahoma, a member family sent a letter to the school district notifying them that they were withdrawing their daughter from public school in order to teach her at home.

The public school system replied with a form entitled "Home School." It did not state whether returning the form was voluntary or mandatory.

The form recited the state compulsory attendance law and said that home instruction must be "supplied in good faith and must be equivalent to the education provided by the state," paraphrasing an opinion of the Attorney General. There were spaces for the parent to insert their name and the name of their child, as well as a table for them to list the subjects to be taught and the time to be spent teaching those subjects.

In Oklahoma, the law requires no notice or form of any kind.

We quickly called the school district to ask whether they were treating the form as mandatory or voluntary. They conceded that it was voluntary and that families did not need to respond.

The school district mislead families by failing to disclose that the form was voluntary. We exhorted them to make it clear in the future that the form is voluntary.

If you reside in this district and receive a similar form, we recommend that you disregard it.