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09/14/2012

How Questions of School Enrollment Affect Parental Rights

The extent to which we maintain our parental rights and responsibilities depends on how we think, act, and react, especially when dealing with the public officials, including school officials.
The question of whether our child is officially enrolled in a public or conventional private school provides a good example of how we can think, act, and react. To maintain our rights, we can and should understand and make clear to others that "officially enrolled" means we have formally registered our child for the coming school year and/or sent our child to school when it opens in the fall.

School districts increasingly seem to want to claim that a child is enrolled until the child is formally withdrawn which sometimes requires a parent or guardian signing an official withdrawal form. But such practices assume that the school rather than the parent has control over a child during the summer and, more importantly, that the public school is where the child should be during public school hours unless the child is formally withdrawn. The compulsory attendance law states that a parent or guardian shall cause a child to attend a school. It is up to the parent or guardian to decide which school and to ensure that the child attends. The legal requirements and penalties have to do with whether a child is attending a school, not whether a child has been formally withdrawn from a school. Homeschoolers sometimes begin homeschooling in the middle of the school year. Filing the PI-1206 form is all that is necessary for this to happen. This acknowledges that the parent is responsible for their child in accordance with the statutes and does not require that parents sign a withdrawal form.
Please inform WPA if your local school officials claim your child is officially enrolled simply because they attended a public school last year or if they insist that you sign an official withdrawal form before beginning homeschooling.   v

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