De Soto area Unified School District 232 has recently warned families that if they withdraw their child to homeschool without using an improper form, they could face legal action.
To set the stage, it is clear that under Kansas law, there is no form needed to move a child from public school to private school (homeschools are classified as private schools).
But USD 232 adopted a form for parents to sign. The form is titled “Notice of withdrawal or non-attendance for purposes of Home Schooling.” By calling the form a “notice,” school officials imply it is actually necessary.
What the Law Requires
It’s not. A simple, courteous letter from parents explaining they are transferring their child to a private school is sufficient.
The form neglects to mention the two most important statements that should be included in a transfer letter: that the child will be attending a private school, and that the private school has been registered with the Kansas State Board of Education.
The most intimidating part comes when the form asks parents to acknowledge this text: “I . . . understand that in the event I refuse to execute this document . . . the District is required by law to report my children as truant to the Johnson County District Attorney’s office.”
There is no such requirement. In fact, the district is under an opposite requirement: to not initiate an enforcement action unless there is a concrete reason to believe a parent is violating Kansas law.
The form then requires the family to agree that the district “shall not be liable” for its errors. And to dignify this improper form, the parent’s signature must be notarized.
But several soon-to-be homeschool moms were taken aback by the form. They knew about HSLDA and knew we could help.
I wrote to a USD 232 representative. I explained the problems and invited her to work with me on a collegial basis to bring the policy into line with state law.
She promptly replied and readily acknowledged that families don’t need to use the form. I appreciated her quick response.