Do Everything Right, Face a Truant Officer
by Caleb Mast • February 16, 2018
A mother in Ohio followed the correct procedure for withdrawing her daughter from public school in order to begin homeschooling. After about four weeks, she found herself face-to-face with a truant officer on her doorstep.
Here’s the chronology:
• The mother went into her daughter’s high school office and filled out an official withdrawal form. When the office receptionist saw the mother was writing “homeschooling” as the reason for withdrawing her daughter, the receptionist said the state would probably be requesting more information.
• The mother mailed a homeschool notification form and supporting documents to the local public school superintendent, as required by Ohio homeschool law. She requested a return receipt for confirmation of delivery.
• The local high school principal replied, asking about the daughter’s attendance and enrollment.
• The mother responded to the principal via email, making him aware that she had submitted the proper homeschool notification to the superintendent’s office, per Ohio homeschool law. She asked him to let her know if there was anything else needed to remove her daughter from the school’s rolls.
• The principal replied in a voicemail that the daughter would remain on the school’s rolls until it received confirmation she was enrolled elsewhere. He told the mother she was required to “apply” to homeschool through the local education services district (ESD). He mentioned that he would need to send out an attendance officer to straighten things out if he did not hear from her.
• The mother received the excusal letter from the superintendent’s office.
• The mother was shocked when a truant officer arrived at her front door, asking about her daughter. The visit apparently had been requested by the high school principal. The mother immediately retrieved the excusal letter from the superintendent and showed it to the officer. After reviewing her excusal letter, the officer told the mother that she was good to go, but she still needed to contact the ESD because it keeps records for the schools. The mother told him that she wasn’t aware of any law that required her to contact the ESD. The officer said that maybe the ESD’s records were not caught up yet, so she could just wait a week.