Tag: compulsory attendance

Opt Out and Compulsory Attendance: A Red Herring

We’ve recently seen a number of communications from schools indicating that they cannot “permit” a parent to opt out of Accelerated Instruction under HB 4545 because it is subject to compulsory attendance.  In this brief video, we look at the actual words of the opt out and compulsory attendance statute and consider an uncontroversial example that demonstrate how this claim is legally untenable and, if true, would render the opt out statute a complete nullity.

Fighting the Opt Out Truancy Threats: Dual Enrollment Home Schooling

Schools are actively brandishing the threat of truancy charges against parents who exercise their fundamental liberty rights to direct the education of their children and protect them from abusive testing regimens.  Schools have sent threatening letters and in some cases actually filed truancy charges against both parents and children if they missed10 days (unexcused) in a six month period or more than three days in a four week period.  We have seen letters threatening to file truancy charges against nine year old students, even though the statute only makes truancy criminal if the child is between 12 and 18 years of age.  It is less clear if parents can be charged for truancy of children under age 12 because of the confusing way the statute is written.  One argument would say that the days missed calculation applies to students of all ages for purposes of charging the parent.  Another argument would say that the days missed calculation can only be determined by reference  to the age of the child, and therefore parents can’t be charged if the student is under 12.  We predict schools will take the first interpretation and file charges against parents and force them to argue in court, at risk of conviction, that the second interpretation should prevail.  We do not believe schools will file against any student under age 12.  (Please file an Incident Report with us if they do)

Rather than depend on legal semantics to fight the charges, parents do have other options.  Please note, none of these options have been tested in court.  There is always a risk that a judge may reject them, but we believe they are legally sound.  The first option is the withdraw/re-enroll option discussed in a previous article.  The main requirement here is that if charges are filed, you must demonstrate that you have an actual home school program during the time of disenrollment that includes a study of good citizenship.  Curriculum purchased or downloaded from the internet, along with assignments from the days of withdrawal would support this factual finding.  Of course, if you take this route, you are faced with multiple withdrawals and re-enrollments during a school year.  This is a time consuming undertaking.  We also believe local school boards may try to pass policies to combat this if this approach becomes prevalent.  For this reason, we are proposing a new approach.  Again, this approach is legally untested, but we believe it to be valid and consistent with state law.

The approach is what we call Homeschool Co-Enrollment.  At its heart, Homeschool Co-Enrollment is the essence of what schools should seek in a family’s approach to education.  In Homeschool Co-Enrollment, parents are actively involved supporting and supplementing the academic development of their child.  Homeschool Co-Enrollment exists informally in many ways.  Sunday School classes, academic tutoring centers, and family reading times are all examples of homeschooling that we engage in informally, not to mention giving homework help and quizzing your child to prepare for tests.  Our proposal is for a family that intends to take their kids out of school during STAAR testing to make this relationship formal.

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