September 12, 2013

Avoid West Plains Withdrawal Form

Scott Woodruff answers questions and assists members regarding legal issues in Missouri. He and his wife homeschooled their children. Read more >>

The West Plains public school system is pressuring families to fill out their own unique form when they withdraw their children in order to homeschool them. We urge you to not use their form.

Their form resembles the optional “declaration of enrollment” that homeschool families can file if they wish. But it requests more information than Missouri Statute §167.042 requires for the optional declaration—for example, the child’s birth date and whether the child has an IEP.

Finally, the West Plains form requires parents to sign an acknowledgement that they have received certain unspecified information about homeschooling from the state Department of Elementary and Secondary Education and the school system. It is impossible to predict the consequences of signing this acknowledgement.

Questions Raised

HSLDA Senior Counsel Scott A. Woodruff asked West Plains Superintendent John Mulford whether he believed it was mandatory for families to use the West Plains form. He responded, in part:

“Our position … is that any student … who withdraws for the purpose of homeschooling must provide the district with documentation of such. Typically, we ask parents to complete this form as a matter of convenience for the parent so they do not have to take the time to draft a letter, etc. If a parent has refused, we have not made an issue of it.”

We appreciate that he is not insisting that families use the school’s form. However, individual school staff members may still put pressure on parents. If so, a copy of this article with Mulford’s quote should convince the overzealous staff member to back off.

A far better way to make withdrawing convenient is to use the sample withdrawal letter available on the members-only section of the Missouri page of the HSLDA website. Using this form assures you that you have submitted everything that is actually necessary, without surrendering private information without justification.

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Protect Your Family

If you or someone you know is not a member of HSLDA, will you consider taking a moment today to join or recommend us? Your support enables us to defend individual families threatened by government officials and protect homeschooling freedom for all. Join now >>