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September 17, 2012

DeSoto County Adds Unauthorized Form For Homeschoolers

Senior Counsel Dee Black answers questions and assists members with legal issues in Mississippi. He and his wife homeschooled their children. Read more >>

Mississippi law requires homeschooling parents to file with the local school attendance officer each year a certificate of enrollment verifying that their child is enrolled in a home instruction program. The enrollment form is prepared by the Office of Compulsory School Attendance Enforcement of the State Department of Education. Parents typically obtain the form from the attendance officer and then return the completed form by the statutory deadline of September 15.

Last week, Home School Legal Defense Association assisted a member family in DeSoto County when a public school official insisted that the mother first complete a Request for Home School Card before she was permitted to obtain the certificate of enrollment form. The Request for Home School Card recites that the child is being withdrawn from public school in order to receive home instruction. It also contains the statement, “This is a requirement for state registration.”

HSLDA Senior Counsel Dewitt Black sent a letter to the superintendent of education of DeSoto County Schools, informing him that state law does not require the completion of a Request for Home School Card at any time for any purpose. Black asserted that any continued effort on the part of the public school officials to block issuance of the enrollment form to the family would constitute a waiver of the requirement that the form be filed.

HSLDA has not encountered this type of legal problem previously in Mississippi. To minimize the possibility of such problems, we recommend that parents obtain the certificate of enrollment forms directly from the office of their local attendance officer without any interaction with the school district.