Homeschooling Parents In Ohio Face Up to 23 Years In Jail for Missing Filing Deadlines


Parents from two homeschooling families in Ohio face up to 23 years in jail for missing filing deadlines imposed by the state.

Despite the fact that each of the families were relatively new to homeschooling in Ohio — along with hundreds of other families around the country who report having trouble navigating their state’s notice requirements for the first time each year — school district officials filed criminal complaints against them.

This severe course of action of having both families served — which can cost them tens of thousands of dollars in fines and decades behind bars — has baffled attorneys with the Home School Legal Defense Association (HSLDA), which serves its 80,000 member families across America.

“Even when a family may have missed a key filing deadline, these situations can often be quickly corrected,” HSLDA Staff Attorney Peter Kamakawiwoole. “And usually, if the family resolves the issue promptly, state officials rarely pursue further action — like criminal prosecution — against the parents.”

Once they discovered the errors, both families quickly righted the wrong(s) … but no matter.

Similar charges were filed against the two families over the past month, with each facing possible jail sentences of more than a decade.

Denying the fact that a failure of communication on both sides was reportedly responsible for the misunderstandings, school officials moved forward with legal action in each case against the parents, who sought legal representation from HSLDA as member families.

“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 explained. “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.”

The way both districts dealt with the families is considered unjust and misleading by the nonprofit Christian legal group.

“Even though both families continued to educate their children, their school districts decided to treat the children as ‘truant,’” HSLDA reported. “The schools also waited to contact the families until the children had accumulated more than a month of ‘absences,’ instead of addressing the issue when the school began marking the children ‘absent.’”

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Michael F. Haverluck