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August 28, 2015

Attendance Officer Demands Receipts for Curriculum Purchase

Dee Black Senior Counsel Dee Black answers questions and assists members with legal issues in Mississippi. He and his wife homeschooled their children.
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Home School Legal Defense Association recently assisted a member family experiencing difficulty in obtaining a certificate of enrollment form for their home instruction program from the local attendance officer in Adams County. Mississippi requires parents to complete this form and return it to the attendance officer on or before September 15 of each year. In this case, when the mother went to the office of the attendance officer in Natchez to get the form, the attendance officer demanded that she first produce receipts indicating that she had purchased curriculum materials for her son’s instruction. The attendance officer said, “I want proof so I know that you’re homeschooling. Some people say they’re going to homeschool and then don’t.”

HSLDA Senior Counsel Dewitt Black sent a letter to the attendance officer and informed her that Mississippi law does not require parents conducting home instruction programs to furnish school attendance officers with receipts or any other evidence of purchase of curriculum materials under any circumstances. Further, Black said, “should you refuse to provide [our member] with the enrollment form and thereby prevent her from complying with the law, you will have waived the requirement that this form be completed and submitted to you.” Black also sent a copy of the letter to the attendance officer’s supervisor at the Office of Compulsory School Attendance Enforcement at the State Department of Education.

A few days later, the attendance officer called Black and offered to deliver the enrollment form to the parent at her home. After Black spoke with the parent and confirmed that this was acceptable, the attendance officer delivered the form the next morning and waited until the parent completed the form and gave it to her.

HSLDA member families encountering the same or similar difficulties in obtaining a certificate of enrollment form from their local attendance officer should contact us for assistance.

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