May 29, 2001

California: Are Your Children in a "Correct" Program?

A Home School Legal Defense Association member family in central California recently removed their two daughters, both enrolled in special education, from an elementary school to begin home schooling. The parents informed the school district they wanted to withdraw their daughters from the special education program and close the current Individualized Education Plans.

That should have been the end of the matter. But it wasn't. One persistent school official kept contacting the family, insisting that they must come into the school and "clean up some paperwork," regardless of their children's enrollment in a private or home school. He said that it was still the school district's responsibility to verify enrollment in a "correct" special education program.

Unfortunately, many workers in the public school special education program system also mistakenly believe the same myth. However, the rule of law is that although public schools are required to offer special education to all children, once a child withdraws from a special education program, the public school cannot impose special education on that child.

HSLDA contacted the school official and informed him that once a child is withdrawn from the public school, the public school does not have jurisdiction to evaluate the educational program of a child enrolled in a private or home school.

The school district concurred and promised it would not contact the family any further.