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Homeschool and You Get Assigned a Social Worker
|Staff Attorney Tj Schmidt answers questions and assists members with legal issues in New York. He and his wife homeschool their children.
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In mid-August a family in the Minisink Valley Central School District decided to homeschool their son for the first time. They submitted a notice of intent to their local school district superintendent and waited for the homeschool packet. It finally arrived, with the individual home instruction plan (IHIP), more than a month later and three weeks late.
One week afterward the secretary to the superintendent, Lisa Delia, called and demanded to know where the IHIP was. According to state law, a parent has four weeks from receipt of the IHIP form to return it. The school official insisted that the IHIP had to be submitted immediately. She also informed the family that she would be assigning them a social worker and that their son had to remain in public school until the IHIP was approved.
Alarmed, the family contacted HSLDA for help. Staff Attorney Tj Schmidt immediately contacted Delia, who admitted that she had called the family but denied saying anything about child protective services (CPS). Schmidt informed Delia that state law allows a family four weeks to complete the IHIP and that the family wasn’t responsible for the district’s long delay in getting them the form. Schmidt also pointed out that state law does not require a child to remain in public school until the IHIP is “approved.”
During a second phone call Delia reversed course and acknowledged that she had mentioned CPS to our member family. However, Delia stated that she only said CPS would be involved if the family failed to submit an IHIP. Schmidt then left a second message for both the superintendent and assistant superintendent and insisted that one of them return our call as soon as possible.
Shortly after this the assistant superintendent, Christian Ranaudo, contacted HSLDA. He quickly acknowledged that the family was in compliance with New York law and that they had four weeks to submit the IHIP. Ranaudo also assured Schmidt that no social worker would be assigned to the family for the district’s tardiness in getting them the necessary paperwork. He indicated that the district did not have a social worker on staff and that he was puzzled why Ms. Delia ventured to threaten our family in such a way. He agreed further training would be done to ensure all staff had a proper understanding of New York homeschool law.
Schmidt reassured the family that they would have no further trouble from Minisink Valley Central School District and their IHIP could be submitted within the time frame permitted by state law.
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