Originally Sent: 9/17/2014
|From the HSLDA e-lert service|
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Staff Attorney Tj Schmidt answers questions and assists members with legal issues in your state. He and his wife homeschool their children.
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Dear Members and Friends,
HSLDA Staff Attorney Tj Schmidt will speak tomorrow before the Indianapolis Metropolitan Police Department (IMPD) Taskforce about homeschooling.
Last month a few members contacted us after receiving their copy of the IMPD Southwest Taskforce Newsletter via email. In the main article about school starting up again, the author urged people to:
“Please report children that you think should be in school. Call 911 and ask for an officer to check on the children. Truancy is a growing concern to all of us. We need to find these children and determine which school they should be attending.”
Needless to say, this advice alarmed many homeschool families.
We immediately contacted the IMPD and expressed HSLDA’s concern about the request for individuals to call 911 when they saw children not in school. The article didn’t attempt to limit these calls to situations where youths might be loitering during school hours. Instead, the article implied that a person should call anytime they saw a child not “in school.”
After hearing our concerns, the IMPD invited HSLDA to present on homeschool programs at the next taskforce meeting. I intend to explain what is required for parents to teach their children at home in Indiana and point out that homeschool parents are not required to follow the exact same daily school schedule of their local public school corporation.
I am also going to talk about the various reasons a homeschooled student might be in public without their parents. For instance, a young-looking 17-year-old student might be traveling across town to go to a class at the community college, co-op, or other educational opportunity. Several younger children might be walking together to a nearby co-op class hosted by another homeschool family in the neighborhood. There are plenty of situations where the advice given in the IMPD’s newsletter could lead to perfectly legitimate homeschooling families be subjected to investigation by police, or even social services.
We hope our presentation at the meeting provides IMPD with a better understanding of the homeschool community and improves future relations. Indiana Association of Home Educators will also be in attendance at the meeting.
Please keep me in your prayers tomorrow. Thank you for all you do for the cause of homeschooling!
Feel free to forward this email to your homeschool friends. If you aren’t a member with HSLDA and would like to join, please click here.
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