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Jailed For Homeschooling, Right Here In America

Jailed For Homeschooling, Right Here In America

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Two separate homeschool families in Ohio face jail time and thousands of dollars in fines for narrowly missing state deadlines of which they were unaware.

The charges are for “contributing to the delinquency of a minor” – even though the children were homeschooled and even though school officials later acknowledged that the parents’ program met state requirements.

The school system says the parents did not provide proper notification on time that their children would not be in public school.

Instead of notifying the parents when they were in violation of the law, school officials let the absences for the children pile up for about a month before bringing criminal charges against them, attorney Peter Kamakawiwoole of the Home School Legal Defense Association (HSLDA) said.

In most cases nationwide, Kamakawiwoole said, “if the family resolves the issue promptly, state officials rarely pursue further action—like criminal prosecution—against the parents.”

“Unless you happen to live in Ohio,” he wrote on the HSLDA website.

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Both families were relatively new to homeschool laws in Ohio, the attorney said.

“One family filed a notice of intent when they began homeschooling last year, but did not know they had to file another notice for this school year,” Kamakawiwoole wrote. “The other family filed their annual notice of intent, but did not submit an educational assessment with their notice because they had not yet completed it, and had been told by their school district that there was no deadline for submitting the assessment.”

School officials should have contacted the families when the absences began piling up but did not, Kamakawiwoole said.

“As soon as both families realized their errors, they took action to comply with their districts’ demands,” he wrote. “After filing the paperwork, both families received a letter from their superintendent verifying that their homeschool program is in compliance with state law for the 2015-2016 school year.”

But then the school district brought criminal charges – charges which carry a maximum penalty of $1,000 in fines and six months in the county jail. Significantly, though, “each day that a child is ‘truant’ can be considered a separate offense,” Kamakawiwoole said.

That means jail time could reach years and fines into the tens of thousands of dollars.

“There is no question that homeschooling families have to meet certain filing requirements in Ohio, and this statute’s primary purpose is to deal with parents who ignore their responsibilities to direct the upbringing and education of their children,” Kamakawiwoole wrote. “But that is not what is happening here. When schools use this statute to prosecute families for what amounts to a simple clerical error, the response is disproportionate and draconian.”

The two families are scheduled to face the charges later this month, and HSLDA is representing them.

Do you believe the families should have been charged? Share your thoughts in the section below:

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  1. I have a child that I am home schooling and we are going to keep up on our state law our church home school all our children that belongs to the church each family help each other on the laws.

  2. There is so much going on in our world today. Do we really have nothing better to do as a Government than come down on parents who are Homeschooling? Really that is offense now??? Our schools are doing such a poor job, why is someone not looking into them? Especially the schools that are on an all computer system. I will be praying for these families. I pray they get some fair Justice if there is any left in the state of Ohio.

  3. Sad. The school district employee’s that are pursuing this know full well what they’re doing and it’s simply punishing a group that doesn’t agree with their ideals; typical Leftist action.

    The school district employee’s need to meet a short rope attached to a tall tree.

    • Its more likely that the affirmative action government workers only got around to doing their job a month after the fact, and didn’t notice anything before. Like the mammographer that didn’t do QA because she was lazy lead to thousands of women needing new mammograms.

  4. The district is just trying to make things difficult for them because they lose lots of money for each child pulled out of school. Our local school as much as told us that when we pulled our kids out.

  5. It’s all about the money. Otherwise they could care less about your kid.

  6. Here’s Ohio and her local governments giving young people/parents yet another reason to find a new home state. Government likes to take on more responsibility than it can handle, then punish private citizens when government programs fail or aren’t sustainable.

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