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August 1, 2017

This district didn't want to follow the law.

District Threatens to Trash Homeschool Notice


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Mike Donnelly by MIKE DONNELLY
Contact attorney for Ohio

Midway through the spring semester, parents in Ohio withdrew their son from public school, deciding it was in his best interest to finish the year as a homeschooled student.

That same day, the parents hand-delivered a notice of intent to homeschool to the school district. From the beginning, the district caused problems. The district declared that until the parents notified the county educational service centers (ESCs) of their intent to withdraw, their son was truant.

In order to comply with Ohio state law and with the instruction of the school, the parents contacted the ESC, and were told that their notice to the local district was all that was necessary to withdraw their son. The family immediately sent another notice of intent to the school district, this time by certified mail. On the advice of friends, they also joined HSLDA.

A few days later, the mother received a call from the assistant principal, who insisted that the family file their intent to homeschool via a specific county form. Once again, the mother filled out the requested form and sent it by certified mail. However, she was becoming increasingly concerned by the school district’s response, so she contacted HSLDA to confirm that she had filed the proper paperwork.

Admitted Failure

In response to the family’s third attempt to file the homeschool notice, the district sent an email, saying it was “unable to process [their] request” and that they had to send notification to the ESC. HSLDA responded on the family’s behalf, reminding the superintendent that Ohio law requires notification to and excuse from the local superintendent, not the ESC.

The next day, the school’s attorney notified HSLDA that she was reviewing the situation. However, the school district also sent an email to the family, threatening to discard the notification form if no one picked it up within a week.

HSLDA contacted the school’s attorney again, expressing concern that the district would seek to destroy a lawfully submitted document. In response, the school’s attorney assured HSLDA that the district would not “take measures to hamper your client’s interest in homeschooling” and that the excuse “process is now underway.”

After prolonged correspondence with the school’s attorney, the parents received written confirmation that their child had been excused for homeschooling effective the date they originally submitted the original notice of intent, over two months before.

Many Ohio districts insist that families seeking to withdraw their students from the public school system use a specific notification form to do so, or send notification to the county educational service center. HSLDA continues to advocate for our Ohio member families and educate school districts of their responsibility under Ohio law.