Tuesday, January 03, 2006

Perils of home schooling in Joliet

Egad!  The ink hardly dry on my Wed. Journal column due out tomorrow (if my tardiness deadline-wise does not delay it), which I close with reference to Illinois’ liberalism in the matter, not prosecuting home-schoolers for truancy, I hear from the Home School Legal Defense Assn. (HSLDA) about a Joliet family hauled into court

In Illinois, homeschoolers only need to teach the same branches of instruction in the English language that are being taught in public schools . . . ever since an important state Supreme Court case [in] 1950 [that gave them private-school status].

Nonetheless, certain school districts tend to demand more of homeschoolers than is actually required by law. . . .  The Will County Regional Superintendent's Office sent a truant officer to contact the [Walters] family.

He said the kids — all four but one “chronic” — were truant.  HSLDA complained immediately, but the truant officer went to the local prosecutor, who charged the family with truancy. He said the chronic required "supervision." HSLDA found the truant officer in violation of a statute requiring written notice of truancy before charges were filed. The father asked for a continuance, the judge refused, not allowing the father even to ask.  The kid had to be in school the next day.

The mother went to the district the next day.  Once the regional superintendent saw she had a teaching certificate, lesson plans and plenty of books and was told of the truant officer’s failure to file proper notice, he called the state's attorney and got the case dropped.

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