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Truant child...can they be homeschooled?
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Catt35
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Joined: 15 Mar 2006
Posts: 6
Location: Illinois

PostPosted: Wed Mar 15, 2006 4:02 pm    Post subject: Truant child...can they be homeschooled? Reply with quote

I live in Illinois and cannot find any information on this. My 13 yo son was turned in to the truancy officer a few months ago due to missing more than 10 days for the school year. I had to go to court over it, but spent no jail time or anything...my son is in all advanced classes and was getting straight A's and on the honor role and academic team until the court proceedings started, now he is failing three classes and refuses to do his homework...he says he has way too much homework and wants more of a life than sitting in school for 7 hours, then having 4-5 hours of homework every night. He's not exaggerating...I have seen the homework he has to do. He is a hands-on learner, highly creative, and not good at the strict textbook-only learning that his school has him doing. Because of all this I made the decision to homeschool him, now the truancy officer is telling me I cannot, because he was in the court system for truancy. She said it would be against the law for me to do it. Eric was put on one year's probation (as well as me) and told as long as he makes it to school every day, no more will come of it. There is a court date next Tuesday for it, and the truancy officer called me and said neither I nor my son had to attend because he has done so well with his attendance that there is no need for further court involvement for us. Neither the court, the judge, or the truancy officer seemed to care that he was a straight A honor student in advanced classes and the stress he is under for all his homework and the court involvement has made him spiral downward...no, none of that matters to them...they only care about the $400 a day they miss out on when he is sick and stays home. I am so upset about this I cannot even begin to tell you. I am at a complete loss as to what to do about this, or if there is even anything I can do about it. The truancy officer also informed us that my 14 yo highschooler cannot be homeschooled either, because of her brothers' involvement with the truancy court. My 14 yo has never been in trouble with the truancy office and is getting straight A's (with the exception of gym class) and is in advanced English and Math. This is just unbelievable to me. I can partially understand my son not being able to be homeschooled, but what that has to do with my daughter. Does anyone know what, if any, rights I have concerning this?
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Theodore
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Joined: 06 Oct 2005
Posts: 2122
Location: Missouri, US

PostPosted: Wed Mar 15, 2006 8:11 pm    Post subject: Re: Truant child...can they be homeschooled? Reply with quote

I'm afraid that Illinois is one of the harsher states regarding truancy (or suspected truancy...), and it's probable that the truancy officer is correct, at least regarding your son. However, you should check with Home School Legal Defense Association to make sure, and you should certainly find out whether the truancy officer can block your daughter from homeschooling, given that she has good grades and no past history of truancy.

I'm sorry I can't give more specific information, but this is really something you need to check with a lawyer. Surprised
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Catt35
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Joined: 15 Mar 2006
Posts: 6
Location: Illinois

PostPosted: Thu Mar 16, 2006 12:01 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Thank you for that link.
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Catt35
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Joined: 15 Mar 2006
Posts: 6
Location: Illinois

PostPosted: Fri Mar 17, 2006 7:46 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Unfortunately, I cannot ask them about my situation as you have to be a paid member to contact them. Sad
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JansMom
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Joined: 16 Feb 2006
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PostPosted: Fri Mar 17, 2006 8:11 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

I, too, am dealing with a similar situtation. My son was late over a dozen times this year. He is only in first grade, so yes, my fault. I've been a single mom since he was born, went throught postpartum the first 2 years and still have issues that need to be worked out...this effects other aspects of parenting ie school. I had a truant office call about, threatening court like I was white trash uneducated fool. Last I knew, kids didn't have legally be in school until 7 years of age. She told me he had to be in school by law and I told I could choose to homeschool. She seemed surprised I would know I could without some kind of teaching experience (which I do have). She said something about how I needed to understand if I did that she would have to report to the state because of the truancy thing.

I'm from Illinois, Oregon school district. I'm gonna check that link, but that is freakin bogus that you gotta pay to be a member. There should be a free link...wonder if DCFS knows anything about this.
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Theodore
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Joined: 06 Oct 2005
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Location: Missouri, US

PostPosted: Fri Mar 17, 2006 10:09 am    Post subject: HSLDA is basically insurance; you pay the yearly fee so... Reply with quote

HSLDA is basically insurance; you pay the yearly fee so that if you ever get in trouble with the public schools, you have experienced legal representation without spending thousands or hundreds of thousands of dollars. They still accept some member applications after you get into trouble rather than before, which is why I included the link. Just explain your problem when you send your application and see if they can help. They'll either accept the application, in which case you're set, or they won't, in which case it won't cost you anything.

I'm sure DFCS knows about HSLDA, since they go up against each other all the time.
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Mom
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Joined: 25 Mar 2006
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PostPosted: Sat Mar 25, 2006 11:11 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Wait wait wait - Pardon my language, but this sounds like a load of crap from the truancy officer. Think of it this way - if you withdrew your child from the school and enrolled him in, say, a local private school, would they still be trying to chase him down? No, they would consider him in school. And as homeschools in Illinois are considered the same as private schools, withdrawing him from the public school and educating him in your private homeschool that you have established is well within the law, providing you keep attendence records. Contact the legal association about this immediately.
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Theodore
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Location: Missouri, US

PostPosted: Sat Mar 25, 2006 6:29 pm    Post subject: Re: Truant child...can they be homeschooled? Reply with quote

From the viewpoint of education, you would be correct. However, homeschooling is considered differently from the viewpoint of truancy, since people have in the past attempted to pass themselves off as homeschoolers to get around the truancy laws (or at least this is claimed), and as a result, some places don't allow you to file for homeschooling status for a child that has recently had legal trouble. If you were homeschooling before the truancy, you'd be fine, but homeschooling afterwards is a lot more difficult. DFCS doesn't really care about taking the time to check out your situation in depth. Yes, definitely check with HSLDA or a local lawyer, but it's possible the truant officer is correct in this regard, even though she seems to be wrong about everything else.

I would personally either try to contest the truancy charge (medical or psychological reasons - whatever works), or work on not having it applied to the second child, since she has good attendance and good grades. There is no reason why she shouldn't be allowed to homeschool, even if the son is stuck serving out his time.

EDIT: If of course you can point us to one or more families who have had children charged with truancy and then successfully switched to homeschooling, that will help a lot with clearing things up - as will anything stating specifically that DCFS is not allowed to do anything in matters regarding truancy. The law makes it sound like the school district can overrule them, but DCFS can still participate if the school district lets them.
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Last edited by Theodore on Sun Mar 26, 2006 12:33 am; edited 1 time in total
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Mom
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Joined: 25 Mar 2006
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Location: Chicago

PostPosted: Sat Mar 25, 2006 11:34 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I do not know of any actual cases - but that doesn't mean the truancy officer is in the right. It's absolutely a fear campaign. Illinois code and case law clearly states that homeschools are considered private schools. They do not have separate consideration. The truancy officer CANNOT come into your home. You DO NOT have to file a curriculum with the state, just a notice. And there is no legal reason why a student cannot be withdrawn from a public school and placed in a home school, regardless of the legal actions currently pending.

My recommendation would be to speak to your son's public defender ASAP and tell him what's going on. Then do NOT speak to the truancy officer again - refer him to the public defender. Also ask the defender to contact the school district's lawyer and speak with him to clear up the issue. 9 times out of 10 the harassment stops there, and while the truancy issue is still there, the district will probably not stand in your way for hsing anymore.
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Mom
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Joined: 25 Mar 2006
Posts: 10
Location: Chicago

PostPosted: Sun Mar 26, 2006 1:19 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Just found these:

http://www.geocities.com/fishstep/Enforcement.html

http://www.sccche.org/html/law.html

"The Levisen decision noted that once a truancy action has been filed against the parents in court, they must come forward with evidence to show that they are in compliance with the law."

I read this as saying if you have established an adequate homeschool with a plan and appropriate materials, you may homeschool your children regardless of truancy actions against them.

Good luck!
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Theodore
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Location: Missouri, US

PostPosted: Sun Mar 26, 2006 1:03 pm    Post subject: Re: Truant child...can they be homeschooled? Reply with quote

This does look favorable, thanks. I wonder why the state groups don't include this information.

From http://www.geocities.com/fishstep/Enforcement.html:

School personnel have no judicial powers.  They have no power to compel anyone to produce attendance or evidence.  They do have the duty to investigate who is truant and who meets the private school exemption of the compulsory education statute. (emphasis mine)

So the most they can do is bar you from homeschooling on the grounds that your homeschool program is insufficient; they can't force attendance. This is precisely the information that was needed.
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Mom
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PostPosted: Mon Mar 27, 2006 9:33 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

And even at that, the most they can do if school personnel think your homeschool program is insufficient is submit it to the state's attorney. The attorney's office decides whether it's worth pursuing, and they then have to go to court, where a judge has the final decision. Provided you're teaching at least what they were learning in the public school, there is no precedent for refusal of homeschooling.

I still recommend talking to the legal association, though. They can usually avoid all the rigamarole.
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tair
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Joined: 26 Oct 2007
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PostPosted: Fri Oct 26, 2007 7:07 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I was doing some research and found this forum. I read this thread and while I realize it is old I felt compelled to post. Homeschooling by Legal definition IS private schooling. The US Supreme Court determined that a parent has exclusive right to the care and control of their children including their education. A parent MUST comply with the compulsory attendance laws of the state. A parent also MUST educate their child in the subjects required by the state. This does not mean that a child must attend 6 to 7 hours sitting at a desk neither does it mean that a child must learn by reading out of a book, writing on papers or doing worksheets and so on.

DCFS does NOT have the authority to investigate truancy matters. That is left to the school district. When you remove a child from "traditional" public school you must file the proper notification. You must provide the school with a "notice of transfer" that you are transferring your child out of their school and into YOU're School.

My letter to the school basically read....

this is to notify you that effective immediatly this (example) 1st day of January 2008, I am withdrawing my student John doe from (name of school) and enrolling him/her in Individualized Private School. According to Illinois State Law and consistant with Supreme Court Rulings, Home based Schooling is determined to be "Private School". the above mentioned student will be complying the compulsory attendance laws as set forth in Illinois State Statute.

A request for records and full transcripts will follow within 5 school days. (you do not have to send for them but it is in your best interest to do so.

Then you sign and date it and you FAX a copy to them immediatly and also send a certified letter containing the notice.

Now I am not a lawer and this should not be taken as legal advice. but I am a mother who was attacked by the state DCFS system and I am a full time family advocate.

ANY parent is well within their right to homeschool their child. You are not required to keep records of what your child does but in a situation such as the one that started this thread it is highly advisable. You are also not required to make your child take any testing. the burden of proof is on them to show you are not complying with the law.

I would be happy to post links to the rulings and the laws that apply. But legal issues pending or not you have absolute right to homeschool and no judge can tell you you cannot.

An alternative is a program such as Ablaze Academy. And through referral you get a discount and so does the referrer so if anyone is interested let me know I will give you a referral back Channel email or private message. Ablaze is NOT home Schooling. It is an academy online and the child is enrolled with them. they provide the work for the student and keep the records. They give progress reports and often times will go to bat for their students in legal matters. The cost is 265.00 per month. It is well worth it.
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Boxie Lady
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Joined: 26 Oct 2007
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Location: SC

PostPosted: Fri Oct 26, 2007 7:38 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I didn't know that you could homeschool without going through some sort of agency. I am not talking about these $200-500 year places. I joined a local Association for $35/yr for the family and I don't have to deal with the school or the district. Once I enrolled I sent them student and school info and they sent the school a fax that my child would be withdrawing and attending private schooling at "Lee Academy"-my school name that I chose.
I do not have to answer any questions about anything and they said that if anyone called wanting to know about anything, even the books that I use that they are not legally allowed to and for me to have them call them.

Now, this could just be for my particular state (SC).
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Ramona
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Joined: 15 Aug 2006
Posts: 418

PostPosted: Sat Oct 27, 2007 10:34 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

It's true that it's possible to homeschool through an umbrella organization without having to deal directly with the government.

However, it's also possible everywhere I know of to homeschool independently without paying anything at all to any umbrella organization. You do have to deal with the government yourself, but is that really a bad thing?

I've never joined any association. I've always dealt with the government myself. I like it this way.

Ramona
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