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August 6, 2012

On the Case:

False Truancy Charges Dismissed

Staff Attorney Darren Jones is a member of HSLDA’s litigation team. He and his wife homeschool.

“It appears that someone at the [school] district has made a mistake,” HSLDA Local Counsel Tom Sanders wrote on behalf of HSLDA member Krystal Sillam (names changed to protect privacy).

Ms. Sillam withdrew her son Andrew on March 30, 2012, from Mesquite Independent School District. She submitted withdrawal paperwork and a letter stating that she would be homeschooling to the superintendent, her son’s former principal, and other school officials. But when she dropped off the paperwork, the school informed her that they would not accept her son’s withdrawal and that he was still enrolled. Since Ms. Sillam was in compliance with the law, she began homeschooling.

But the school would not back down. Ms. Sillam received a summons to appear in court on truancy charges. The school district claimed Andrew was “not lawfully exempt or properly excused from compulsory school attendance.” Ms. Sillam immediately contacted Home School Legal Defense Association, and we quickly responded, presenting proof to the court that Ms. Sillam had withdrawn her son and was legally homeschooling.

When we did not hear back from the court, attorney Sanders contacted the prosecutor and requested that he drop the case. Despite the prosecutor’s initial refusal to even discuss dropping the case, Mr. Sanders faxed the prosecutor proof that Ms. Sillam was legally homeschooling. Monday, July 30, 2012, HSLDA received confirmation that the case was dismissed.

While most school districts know and comply with their state’s homeschool law, HSLDA frequently encounters districts that “make a mistake.” In Ms. Sillam’s case this mistake was thankfully resolved in time for her to begin homeschooling for the next school year.