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School Officials Refuse to Let Student Go

by Scott Woodruff • November 13, 2018

A northern New Jersey mom and dad decided to withdraw their daughter from public school in the middle of the semester because they were not happy with her experience there. After they filled out the withdrawal papers the school requested, what should have been a smooth and simple process escalated to threats.

The school asked the student’s father what homeschool program they would be using. He and his wife had not decided yet, so he said he did not know. The school representative replied, “no one withdraws to homeschool in this district,” and then insisted that they send him the program so he could review it. The parents knew this was not lawful, so they ignored his request.

The school began sending automated calls to the family hassling them about their daughter’s absence. When the parents asked for the calls to stop, the school did.

A Knock at the Door

But that wasn’t the end of the matter: a few days later a CPS investigator showed up at the family’s house unannounced. After the investigator saw the student busy at her schoolwork, she said the case would be closed.

The school district still had other ideas. The next day, the family received a letter in which a school representative threatened them with a truancy prosecution unless they provided details about their homeschool program. Members of Home School Legal Defense Association at that point, they asked us for help.

I sent a letter to the school representative listing the student’s main subjects and primary textbook. I also quoted from the New Jersey Department of Education FAQs about homeschooling: “The law does not require or authorize the local board of education to review and approve the curriculum or program of a child educated elsewhere than at school.”

The family heard nothing further from the school.

Scott Woodruff

Senior Counsel

Scott is a seasoned attorney and homeschool advocate with decades of involvement in homeschool legal issues and cases. Read more.

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