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March 30, 2015

Truant Officer Seeks Information

Scott Woodruff Senior Counsel Scott Woodruff helps members and advocates for homeschool freedom in your state. He and his wife homeschooled their children.

Many months after starting their homeschool program in west-central Illinois, a family opened their door to find a truant officer who had come, he said, to check on their son.

He handed them a form from the regional office of education seeking information in order to determine the academic success of their son, whether he had special needs, and the credentials of his instructors.

The form’s stated purpose was to evaluate whether their son was receiving education “commensurate” to that provided in the public schools.

Seeking Compliance

The form said: “After reviewing your response, or lack thereof, to this inquiry, a determination will be made as to whether or not your child is in compliance with the compulsory attendance laws.”

The family asked HSLDA for guidance. Senior Counsel Scott A. Woodruff wrote a letter to the truant officer. He explained that public schools have no jurisdiction over private schools. He added that since there was no evidence the family was violating the compulsory attendance law, there was no reason for the family to fill out the form.

He cautioned the truant officer that it might violate the family’s due process rights if he took any action against them simply because they chose not to return the form.

Woodruff asked the officer to close his file. We do not anticipate that he will contact the family again.

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