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October 24, 2006

State’s Attorney Backs Down from Comments Targeting Homeschoolers

At the beginning of the 2006-2007 school year, an Illinois Home School Legal Defense Association member received a visit from school officials with the Franklin/Williamson Regional Office of Education. 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. After consulting with the school’s attorney, these officials returned to the member family’s home, but this time with a truant officer. The truant officer stated that counsel for the school said 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 by the school officials, again told the truant officer she was not required to prove that she was homeschooling or show 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.

Meanwhile, the stakes rose higher when the Williamson County State’s Attorney declared in The Southern Illinoisan newspaper: “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.”

This made a lot of homeschool families in the county nervous.

However, the state’s attorney is not correct. In Illinois, homeschoolers are considered private schools, and private schools do not answer to public school authorities. “If it’s a private school, no matter what size, whether it’s 500 students or three students in your home and whether the teacher is your own parent or someone else or whether the principal is your father, it doesn't matter,” Klicka responded in a subsequent article by The Southern Illinoisan.

After this public correction of the state’s attorney assertion, it seems that he has backed down from his position. No further homeschool families have been visited.

 Other Resources

Sept. 11, 2006 article: “Officials Visit Homeschool Families Demanding to See Curriculum”