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February 8, 2016

Member Faces Truancy Charges for Entire Academic Year

Darren Jones
Darren Jones


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School district officials, skeptical of a grandmother’s claim that homeschooling is best for her recently orphaned granddaughter, have charged her with truancy—for an entire academic year.

The HSLDA member’s granddaughter had been going to public elementary school. But in 2013, after the girl was diagnosed with a sensory disorder and depression, her mother began researching other education options. At first, the mother tried to get the school to provide her daughter with reduced-size classes, but when the school refused, she withdrew her daughter and homeschooled her for the 2013–14 school year.

Unfortunately, in May 2014 the mother unexpectedly became ill and passed away only a week before completing her own college education. Undaunted, our member took over the homeschooling of her orphaned granddaughter.

Making Demands

At the end of the 2014–2015 school year, the school district demanded that our member meet with a truancy committee to find out more about her granddaughter’s homeschooling. The committee pushed hard to get the girl enrolled in public school, but the grandmother said that homeschooling was best for her granddaughter, given her ongoing depression. The committee insisted that our member come back for another meeting in October 2015, and that she enroll her granddaughter in therapy.

On the day of the October meeting, our member experienced car difficulty. She sent text and email messages to the committee members, saying that she would be half an hour late and asking if she should still come. She explained in her email that she had enrolled her granddaughter in an online school and had scheduled meetings with a local therapist.

She received no response—until January 27 of this year, when a sheriff’s deputy showed up with a summons to attend court on charges that the granddaughter was being neglected because she hadn’t been in school for the entire 2014–15 school year!

HSLDA is vigorously defending our member in court this week, and we expect the charges to be dismissed.