Caught Between Two School Districts
by Darren Jones • February 12, 2019
When a member family moved to a new district, the parents decided it would be best for their children—who struggle with chronic health issues—to begin homeschooling. What they didn’t count on was being harassed by the district they had just moved away from.
We defended the Massachusetts family when their old school district charged the parents with truancy, even though they now were legally homeschooling.
Hints of trouble arose during the school year, when the members’ children were attending public school. Because of the children’s health, they had accumulated a few medically excused absences in the first few months.
Due to the absences, the parents began considering homeschooling and mentioned this possibility to the school counselor, who emphatically stated that this was not a good idea.
Making a Move
In mid-November, the family moved to a different school district several hours away. Instead of having the children start in a new school mid-year, our member decided to start homeschooling. She went to the local superintendent’s office to get information, and then she did something that turned out to be very important—she joined Home School Legal Defense Association.
Our member submitted her notice of intent, and everything seemed to be proceeding normally. But then they ran into a strange situation.
Officials from the old school district called, demanding to know where the children were. When the mother explained she had moved and decided to homeschool, officials told her that she needed to go to the new school district and sign a release, so it could have the kids’ school records sent from the old district.
Officials at the new district disagreed and told our member that they didn’t need the records, because the children were now being homeschooled. Even when the mother informed the old school district, officials continued calling, demanding the release.
On December 10, the same day that the new school district issued its letter approving the homeschool program, the old district filed a petition for truancy.
The family contacted HSLDA and we immediately involved Rob Caprera, our local counsel in Massachusetts. When he contacted the probate officer and showed him the family’s homeschool approval letter, the petition was dismissed without any court appearance.