It should be routine by now, because it happens every school year. Parents whose children have been attending public school decide they are going to start homeschooling.
When this happens in the middle of the school year, however, some difficulties can arise. Some of the most troubling situations in Indiana occur when local school officials demand that the parent participate in an exit interview before they can withdraw their child. Officials most often require these interviews because of a lack of understanding about Indiana law.
That’s how we ended up assisting a family this year in Muncie. After the family decided to begin homeschooling to meet the needs of the their 16-year-old child, school officials stated an exit interview was necessary before the student could be withdrawn.
We believe the confusion arose over policies regarding high school dropouts.
A Question of Status
Under Indiana law, students between 16 and 18 years of age must attend an exit interview before they can drop out of school. The purpose of this interview is to educate the student and the parents about the potential consequences of dropping out. This interview must occur before the school can remove that student from the attendance roster.
However, when students are withdrawn to homeschool, they are not dropping out. If a student is going to continue his or her education at home under the direction of their parents, they are considered to be in a nonpublic school—not a dropout.
Instead, a high school student only needs to complete the Withdrawal to Non-Accredited Nonpublic School Located in Indiana form when beginning a homeschool program. This form makes it clear that it is the responsibility of the parents to educate their child, and that accepting this responsibility means their child is no dropout. This form is not required for students who were not enrolled in their public school at the high school level.
In addition to demanding that new homeschool parents come in for “exit interviews” for children of all ages, some officials have insisted that a homeschool intent form or some other type of registration with the Indiana Department of Education (IDOE) is required before the child can be withdrawn. This year HSLDA was contacted by new homeschool families all across the state dealing with these unlawful demands.
For instance, parents in Shelbyville Central Schools were told they had to fill out a particular form and report to the IDOE. Parents in the Tippecanoe School Corporation were told that they had to register with the IDOE and sign a homeschool intent form before they could withdraw their child.
In each of these situations HSLDA was able to help these families. We either contacted the school officials directly or assisted the family in demonstrating the actual legal requirements to begin homeschooling.
If you have questions about what you are required to do when withdrawing your child from the local public school, or if you experience burdensome demands from local school officials, please let us know. We can help you!