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March 25, 2013

On the Case:

School to Homeschool Family: Obtain Approval or Accreditation or Else!

Staff Attorney Darren Jones is a member of HSLDA’s litigation team, which helps homeschool families who are facing legal challenges. He and his wife homeschool.

In March 2013, a Kansas district court dismissed a truancy case against homeschooling parents Tom and Caroline Evanson (names changed to protect privacy).

Since homeschools operate as private schools in Kansas, when the Evansons began homeschooling they followed the applicable law and registered a private school with the state. But in August 2011, they enrolled their daughter in public school again.

After three semesters of watching their daughter suffer from bullying and of strongly disagreeing with some of the public school course content, the Evansons withdrew their daughter to homeschool again. Registrations don’t expire, so when they resumed homeschooling it was not necessary to register their home-based private school again.


But the school district decided to challenge the Evansons’ homeschool program, and the family contacted Home School Legal Defense Association. Despite the Evansons having filed the correct paperwork to withdraw their daughter from public school, the school district notified the county attorney that the Evansons’ daughter was truant.

The prosecutor summoned them to court. He asked the judge to take jurisdiction over their daughter as a “child in need of care” because of truancy. The school officials and local prosecutor argued that the daughter’s attendance in the Evansons’ program did not satisfy the compulsory attendance law because the program was neither approved nor accredited, even though no such requirement is found in Kansas law.

HSLDA’s local counsel contacted the prosecutor with evidence that the Evansons had already registered their private school. We explained that Kansas law required a one-time registration and did not require either approval or accreditation of home-based private schools. With this information, the prosecutor dismissed the case against the Evansons.

Like most of the 50 states, Kansas is relatively homeschool-friendly, but it takes just one bad decision by a court unfamiliar with the law to destroy years of educational freedom. In the 1980s, homeschoolers achieved educational freedom by banding together, and our work is not done. This mutual support is still essential to continue to defend homeschool freedoms. Click here to join HSLDA’s 80,000 member families to protect our right to homeschool!