School Officials Repeatedly Harass Homeschooling Family


April 11, 2017

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After moving into the Williamsville Central School District in the middle of the
school year, a member family submitted their notice of intent to homeschool
their children, as New York law requires.

District officials immediately demanded information not required by law. They told
the family that they had to register their children within the school district before
being permitted to homeschool. A few months later, they requested additional
information with the intent of entering the children into a central identification
system.

We wrote a letter to Williamsville pointing out that homeschool
children—especially those who do not intend to be enrolled as students in the
public school district—are not required to be registered there.

Then, nearly two months later, the family received a second letter stating that
the district needed proof of residency and each child’s date of birth “in
order to enter them into our student system.” In the letter, Williamsville
officials went on to say that the birthdates were required “to enter your
students in the New York State Repository as students in our district receiving
instruction through home schooling.”

The letter ended by warning that if this information was not provided within 10
days, the Coordinator for Student Services would be forced to conduct a home
visit.

Hearing from Their Lawyer

After we sent a second letter to Williamsville informing them that the New York
State Student Identification System is for public school students and not homeschool
students, the district’s attorney decided to give us a call.

Instead of phoning our offices in Virginia, however, he called one of our local
associated attorneys in New York. In this phone call the district’s attorney
requested that the member family provide proof of residency and proof of age to
“ensure that the children had age appropriate curriculum” in their
homeschool program.

Upon hearing this, I immediately returned the call.

During our phone conversation I informed the district’s attorney that
parents, not public school officials, control their children’s education
program when teaching them at home. I pointed out that under New York law the parent
determines the child’s grade level and is only required to inform the school
district of the syllabi, curriculum materials, textbooks, or plan of instruction in
the required subject.

I also informed the attorney that the New York State Education Department had made
it clear that the review of the materials that the parent submits in the
individualized home instruction plan (IHIP) is only to verify that the required
subjects are being taught. School officials do not have…

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