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September 18, 2006

It Shouldn’t Take a Lawyer

Minnesota law requires homeschooling families to provide a certain report each year by October 1. The state is now making certain benefits available to homeschooling families if they file a different report by September 15. Each year, families across Minnesota get demands from their local school district that they must file all paperwork by September 15. Most Home School Legal Defense Association member families politely respond that they are not obligated to turn in their paperwork until two weeks later.

Erica Sweetman (not her real name) got a call from her school district in early September. School officials wanted the report by September 15. When she told them that she did not need to return the form until October 1, the school officials got very unhappy.

Erica called HSLDA. Attorney Scott Somerville contacted the same school official and repeated, almost word for word, what Mrs. Sweetman had said. The school official replied, “If she wants funding, her paperwork must be in by September 15. If she doesn’t, October 1 is fine.” Attorney Somerville said she does not want funding and the school official said, “then she does not need to send anything in.”

The only difference between the two calls was that one was made by a law-abiding Minnesota citizen, the other by an attorney. School officials are expected to know the law and comply with it, whether the person on the other end of the phone is a parent or an attorney. Despite this, HSLDA members still find that their officials are not willing to obey the law unless an attorney backs them up.

The good news is that Minnesota parents are still maintaining their rights. Eighty thousand freedom-loving families (and a few lawyers) are holding the line for liberty across America and in Minnesota.