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District Fumbles Paperwork, Charges Mom with “Habitual Truancy”

by Darren Jones • June 26, 2018

Four months after withdrawing her daughter from public school, an Ohio mom received a court summons for charges of “habitual truancy.” The mom was surprised and confused; she had been educating her child at home since the withdrawal and had submitted all the necessary paperwork months before.

Let’s rewind.

Her daughter had had various struggles in public schools, mostly with other students. In January, this mother knew it was no longer safe for her daughter to remain in school.

She promptly withdrew her daughter from the high school and asked where she must submit the notice of intent to homeschool. Upon being provided an email address for the district, the mom immediately emailed the notice.

Believing everything was settled, she focused her attention on her daughter’s needs. However, she began receiving automated calls notifying her that her daughter was absent from school. After two weeks, the calls had not stopped.

Following Up

Curious, the mom emailed the school to see what the problem was. The assistant principal stated she would follow up on the withdrawal paperwork. Once again, the mother thought all was fine.

Two months after she began homeschooling, the mom received an automated email stating that her daughter would be withdrawn from the school because of her many absences. Confused, the mother once again asked what happened. Things became a bit clearer when the school responded that the district never notified them of the homeschool paperwork that the mother had submitted.

After another two months, the court summons arrived. The mother immediately contacted Home School Legal Defense Association.

Working with a local attorney in Ohio, we sent a letter to the prosecuting attorney laying out everything the mother had submitted. We pointed out that the mom was not at fault, because she had promptly submitted all the necessary paperwork and quickly responded to any communication from the school.

Recognizing the mother had done everything properly, the prosecutor dismissed the case.

The family could finally focus on learning and thriving.

Darren Jones

Senior Counsel

Darren is a litigation attorney and homeschool graduate who helps HSLDA member families resolve legal difficulties related to homeschooling. Read more.

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