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December 5, 2006

‘Your Home Education Program is Terminated’

How would you feel if you received an official letter from public school authorities declaring your homeschool “terminated?”

The Pittmans are one of the member families HSLDA helped after being told by Marion County officials that their homeschool program was terminated.

Well recently, about 400 homeschoolers in the Marion County Public Schools district received a letter that said just that!

Each of these homeschoolers were told that their “Home Education Program is terminated due to your failure to comply with Florida statute 1002.41. You must enroll your child in a public, private, or parochial school within 10 days upon receipt of this letter.”

The statute that Marion County referred to requires that an annual evaluation be filed with the local school district. Many people who had received this letter terminating their home education program had actually already sent their evaluation in! These homeschoolers had done nothing wrong, but they were told that their home education program was terminated-with no warning. They did not receive notice that their evaluation was missing or any hint that there was a problem.

What is even more absurd about the school district officials’ actions is that the law gives them no authority to simply “terminate” a homeschool! Under Florida statutes section 1002.41(2), the superintendent, at the most, can give a family a “one year probationary period.”

Many Home School Legal Defense Association members from Marion County called in after receiving this frightening letter. HSLDA staff worked with each member, and contacted the school district on their behalf. By writing letters and sending in the mail receipts from the previously certified evaluation, we were able to show that Marion County had already received the assessments and that each homeschooler was completely complying with Florida law. The missing assessments were the mistake of the school, not the families.