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April 25, 2017

Join our school. Oops, no room! . . . Aaand now you’re truant.

When a Tennessee public school wrongly charged a homeschooling mother with truancy, Home School Legal Defense Association went to court for her.

Darren Jones DARREN JONES HSLDA litigation attorney

Back in December, our member decided to homeschool her son due to his poor health, which had caused him to miss numerous days of school. She withdrew him from public school and filed a notice of intent to homeschool while she looked for a church-related school to join (both options are available to homeschoolers in Tennessee).

However, officials at the public school insisted that she instead should enroll him in a public-school-at-home program. So she contacted that program to enroll her son.

Several weeks later, the public-school-at-home program told the mother that her son could not enroll because the program was full.

About the same time, our member received help from a local homeschool group, which assisted her in finding curriculum and enrolling in a church-related school. But before she could complete the paperwork, the public school initiated truancy proceedings, claiming that her son had been absent without excuse for 23 days.

HSLDA defended the mother at the initial court hearing in February. At first, the judge threatened to force her to put her son back in public school. But when we showed that the family was in full compliance with the law and had been from the beginning, he agreed that the mother should continue homeschooling her son.

Finally free to teach her son at home, our member is happily completing the 2016–17 school year.