District Misses Paperwork, Investigates Family
by Mike Smith • October 16, 2018
She showed up with the police and told our member family she needed to enter their home and investigate.
And what was the issue that prompted this alarming incursion? Missing paperwork.
This homeschooling family in Clark County had filed their notice of intent to homeschool in April, but local public school officials claimed they never received it.
We believe the district followed up on the missing notice by referring our member family to CPS, which in turn called upon a worker with a program called Differential Response (DR).
It’s Still Confrontational
DR programs are meant to deal with lower-profile abuse and neglect cases by connecting families with community resources. According to the Nevada Department of Health and Human Services website, DR workers conduct assessments and propose remedies, “instead of using a traditional investigative approach.”
That’s not what happened at the front door of our member’s home. The DR worker asserted she was investigating educational neglect.
The mom said her family had scheduled a field trip that day, and that the investigator would have to return another time.
The investigator did just that, coming to the home again the next day. The family was away, so the DR worker had police leave a note saying they needed to conduct a welfare check.
The family contacted Home School Legal Defense Association for help.
Excused from Attendance
We learned that the family had refiled the homeschool notice of intent with the local school district. Upon receiving the notice, the superintendent’s office had recognized that the family’s student was properly excused from public school attendance, and therefore not truant.
We sent a strongly-worded letter to CPS, including the notice of intent and acknowledgment by the school district of the family’s compliance with Nevada homeschool law.
We pointed out that allegations of educational neglect were misplaced because the mere failure by a family to file the required paperwork does not meet the state definition of educational neglect. Additionally, allegations of educational neglect don’t rise to the “exigent circumstances” required to enter a home without consent or a warrant.
We added that continuing to harass the family over this issue could be construed as a violation of Nevada’s Parental Rights Law and the Federal Civil Rights Act. Parents have a fundamental right (the highest right recognized by our highest law—the U.S. Constitution) to direct the upbringing and the education of their children, including choosing homeschooling as recognized by the Nevada Legislature.
More Work to Do
To the DR’s credit, after they received our letter, they notified us that the file had been closed. The family can now breathe a sigh of relief.
But we’ll work in conjunction with Nevada Homeschool Network (NHN), the statewide organization, to see that students who are not attending public school and haven’t been excused from attendance aren’t automatically classified as neglected without further evidence. This label represents a serious charge, and officials should apply extreme diligence to determine the true status of a student before making such an accusation.
See Related Story: “HSLDA Peels Away Red Tape So Family Can Keep Homeschooling”
See Related Story: “Family’s Notice Eaten by the Internet?”