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July 7, 2015

On the Case:

Half-Baked Truancy Charges Dismissed in Court

Staff Attorney Darren Jones is a member of HSLDA’s litigation team, which helps homeschool families who are facing legal challenges. He and his wife homeschool.

Five months after a school district wrongly cited a homeschooling family for violating a local truancy ordinance, the prosecutor dropped the charges.

Last February, a Wisconsin family decided to withdraw their high school junior from the public school to homeschool. As previous homeschoolers, they were well equipped to give their son the education he needed to excel. They informed the school that their son was homeschooling.

Instead of recognizing that the student was withdrawn, the school acted as though he were still enrolled and absent from classes. They started sending truancy notices. Although state law did not require the family to do so until October of the ensuing year, they filed a statement of enrollment (Form PI-1206) two weeks after they began homeschooling him.

Court Summons

In line with inaccurate advice the state Department of Public Instruction posts on its website, the Village of Osceola claimed that their son was truant because his family did not file the Form PI-1206 immediately upon withdrawing him from school. The prosecutor filed charges against the son for violating the village truancy ordinance and against his father for contributing to his son’s truancy.

Members of HSLDA, the family called for help after being summoned to court. Among other arguments, we pointed out to the prosecutor that their son was in a lawful program of home instruction—and therefore in compliance with Wisconsin compulsory attendance law—immediately after his family withdrew him from public school. We explained that the Form PI-1206 is not what initiates a homeschool program.

The prosecutor agreed with our arguments, and this June the court dismissed the case.

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Protect Your Family and Homeschooling

HSLDA’s legal defense of homeschooling families like the Wisconsin family is only possible by the support of the thousands of our members coming together to ensure homeschooling remains free. Your membership and donations to the Homeschool Freedom Fund keep homeschooling free for all.