April 9, 2001

Kentucky—Social Worker Says Home Schooling without Certified Teacher Illegal

Pendleton County, Kentucky—Two of the most common legal difficulties home schoolers face are anonymous tips to social services by people who are not familiar with all the facts of a situation or government officials who do not know the law. Last week, a single mother in Kentucky faced both problems during an unpleasant social services investigation.

Mrs. T, who home schools her three children, was making preparations to move out of her house. As part of these preparations, the electricity was turned off. Unfortunately, the house she was planning to move into was not immediately available, so she and her children temporarily moved in with her mother, who lives close by.

An unknown person reported the T family to the Kentucky Department of Children and Families, claiming that the children were living in a house without any electricity and were not attending school.

When a social worker came to Mrs. T's door while the family was packing, Mrs. T explained the circumstances. However, the social worker demanded entry to talk to the children about their schooling. Claiming that home schooling is illegal in Kentucky unless the teacher is state-certified, she threatened to remove the children from the home.

Mrs. T called HSLDA, and HSLDA immediately informed the social worker that Kentucky law allows parents to teach their children at home, and that Mrs. T was in full compliance with the law. After the local public school confirmed that Mrs. T had indeed sent in her notice this year, the social worker agreed to drop all of the allegations.