What do you do if someone reports your children are neglected? Homeschooling legal problems can be a real fear, as Jennifer found out.
Luckily my Facebook fans are on hand to reassure her.
And they can do the same for you too!
And that's very important.
Sadly, as you'll see from the comments below, being charged with neglect is something that can happen to the best of us.
Jennifer posted this question on my Facebook page.
I've put as many of the answers as I can below. It's invaluable to have some real life experience of homeschooling legal problems - so thank you all very much!
"Happened to me too!" ~ Dana
"If you reside in the U.S. Notify HSLDA (Homeschool Legal Defense Association).They are a legal homeschooling advocacy group. They fight for our right to homeschool and have attorrneys that intervene our behalf. The HSLDA regularly deals with situations like this." ~ Irma
"They are not legally allowed to check on kids simply because they are homeschooled. Maybe send an email to the American Civil Liberties Union? The supreme court has ruled that parents have the constitutional right to homeschool." ~ Katy
"If you've submitted a letter on intent to the district you live in this shouldn't have happened. If you did, than I would start wondering who you know is against you homeschooling." ~ Jade
"The ones they need to investigate are the schools themselves!" ~ Bea
"HSLDA...if your papers are submitted, there should be no questioning or even someone walking in on you. That would not be met very kindly here." ~ Taraha
"id be Angry. They have to have a search warrant to just come in your house like that. Id be raising you know what. I work for the health dept and I know its different from DHS and different laws in different states but if you have turned in all the required paperwork they can be in big trouble for that." ~ Amanda
"Jennifer I don't know what state you live in but just make sure your paperwork is in order if that's what your state requires. In California we file a private school affidavit in October." ~ Lisa
"Laurie is right. Never let anyone from DFACS in your home with a court ordered search warrant." ~ Laura
"DHS has a standard warrant that allows them to come to your hone and investigate. If you refuse, they will get the police involved and they will make your life a living hell for 6+ months, ask me how I know? You do need to call HSLDA it usually only requires a phone call from them to get DHS to back off." ~ Amber
"My ex tried this often! I had boxes and boxes of their schoolwork to prove otherwise." ~ Karen
"Call HSLDA they will help you. They helped us." ~ Sandi
"Wow....I would be furious." ~ Heather
"I've dealt with the worst of D.H.S and a case manager got away with stuff for some time, but I'm brutally honest, so anything I said it was trusted as the truth after some time and the case manager got forced to resign and in home workers got fired when the truth came out." ~ Melle
"Honey this is actually a thing that happens to the best of us, especially if we have had our kids in schools first, trouble with doing it to me was the education department forced it on me in the end and expected me to do it, too much hassle with schools who don't understand not to hit my kids or put them down...Oh yes I should note that when I sent them to the education department I was cleared immediately so I wouldn't worry too much." ~ Julie
your rights based on your states laws. Also your right to privacy as
stated. I would suggest that if this seems more common in your state,
get a membership to HSLDA. Since has happened once my understanding is
HSLDA will give you a hot line number should it happen again so you can
get legal advise in minutes while big brother is standing at the door.
Biggest advise is always know your rights. Government officials think nothing of trampeling on those rights, because they don't know them themselves. Even if a cop is with them at your door, no especially if a cop is with them, they can not enter your house without a warrant. Ever. They love the intimidation tactic to get you to fess to something they deem as not good for your kids. Then they try to take them and place in foster care, like that is so much better than home schooling, or even not schooling at all." ~ Kevin
school has a paper for you to sign saying that you are assuming full
responsibility for your child's education. If that is not on file, they
may be considered truant. Just type something that says "As of [past
date] I, [your name], have assumed full responsibility for the education
of my child, [child's name]. Then sign it, take it to the school and
request that it be placed in their file. If you want to be extra
thorough, you could also print a second page for the school
representative to sign for you to keep in your own records... Something
to the effect of "I [school representative] have received documentation
from [your name] that her child, [child's name], will be home schooled
as of [date], and I have placed this documentation in his/her file on
[date]. [+signature of both school representative and you and/or another
Have a copy of both to hand any authority that questions you." ~ Christala
You can find an overview of the laws which will help you deal with homeschooling legal problems here.
If you are having homeschooling legal problems and live in the UK, there is a very useful page which outlines home education and the law here.
Click on the pic to go to the page: