Switching to homeschooling should be a straightforward process, even for families who have recently moved.
However, lately at HSLDA we’ve seen an increase in public school officials demanding additional information from homeschool families who have relocated.
For the past several months my colleagues and I here in the Legal Department have written letters, made phone calls, and on a rare occasion even handled CPS contacts, on behalf of families who just moved.
In the Empire State
Among the worst offenders have been school districts in New York.
When notifying school officials of their decision to move, families in New York City have regularly received demands to provide their new address, the name of the local school district they will reside in, and confirmation that they have “registered” to homeschool.
For families who move within the state of New York, the paperwork demand can be onerous. New York’s homeschool law is among the most restrictive, requiring an Individual Home Instruction Plan (IHIP) as well as quarterly reports for each student.
Yet there is no process for transferring a homeschool program from one New York school district to another. Parents must simply start from scratch—submitting IHIPs all over again to the local education authorities.
Crossing the Line
If a family has moved to another state, that’s when demands can become outrageous.
For whatever reason, some public school officials in a state the families have just left feel they cannot close out their records unless they have documents confirming each student’s educational status.
This can cause real problems if a family has moved from a state that requires homeschool notification to a state that does not. Officials from the state the family just left may demand proof that they are registered to homeschool in their new jurisdiction—but it is impossible for a family to comply.
There is also no legal authority for any state to demand homeschool records from the new state of residence.
Doing Their Best
One family who left Upstate New York was told that their child would not be removed from the district’s records until they registered in their new state. When the family replied that their new state did not have any homeschool registration, officials said they needed to enroll their son into the local public school and then pull him out to be homeschooled.
These families are simply trying to provide the best education and home they can for their family. Rather than be free to do so, homeschool families are faced with school officials trying to apply irrelevant procedures that are designed for public school students moving from one state to another.
No family deserves to be threatened or bullied this way. HSLDA will continue to intervene in each of these situations on behalf of our members, defending their right to homeschool their children wherever they see fit!