December 10, 2001

Montana County Seeks Unauthorized "Registration"

After notifying the county superintendent of their intent to home school and including all necessary information in a letter, two Home School Legal Defense Association member families in Carter County were surprised when they each received a set of forms in the mail.

The first form was designed to "register" their children with the superintendent. Among other unauthorized requests, it called for a description of the study materials being used in the home school. The second document was an attendance form that parents were asked to complete and submit to the superintendent at the end of each quarter.

HSLDA Attorney Dewitt Black wrote the superintendent on behalf of both families, pointing out that home schoolers are not required to "register" and that the information previously provided was sufficient notice under Montana's home school law. Black further informed the official that while parents are required to maintain attendance records and make them available to the superintendent upon request, there is no requirement that they complete an attendance form and submit the information to the superintendent in this manner.

Home schooling parents may require the superintendent to come to the location of the home school to inspect the records, or they may submit the records to his office if an inspection is requested. In any event, the parents do not have to utilize any particular form in maintaining the attendance records and may not be compelled to send the records to the county superintendent.