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NHELD Legal Fact Sheet


NATIONAL HOME EDUCATION LEGAL DEFENSE
(NHELD)
www.nheld.com
Attorney Deborah G. Stevenson
Judy Aron
Executive Director
Research Director
(860) 354-3590
(860) 523-7257


FACT SHEET

1. State law is silent on how children withdraw from public school, and has been silent since the inception of the public school system. It has always been understood that parents have the ultimate authority to withdraw children from public school at any time for any reason.

2. Since the inception of the public school system, parents have withdrawn children by any means including: (1) verbally, (2) in writing by a letter drafted by a parent, or (3) in writing by a form drafted by the public school. The public school districts and the state Department of Education always have acknowledged any means of withdrawal as legally sufficient.

3. In 2004, the state Department of Education began advising public school districts that parents did not have the authority to withdraw children from school.

4. In 2004, the state Department of Education advised that only public school districts have the authority to determine when a child is no longer enrolled, whether or not a parent has notified a school district, in writing, that the child is being withdrawn.

5. There is no statute that grants to the public school district the authority to retain a child as enrolled when a parent notifies the school district in writing that the child is being withdrawn.

6. There is no statute that requires a parent to sign any form drafted by the public school district in order to withdraw the child.

7. There is no statute that requires a parent to sign any form drafted by the state Department of Education in order to withdraw the child.

8. There is a "Notice of Intent" form that was adopted by the state Board of Education as its "Suggested Procedure for Home Instruction", however, there is no statute that requires the "Notice of Intent" form to be signed at any time by parents. It is merely a "Suggested Procedure."

9. There is no statute that requires a parent to sign the "Notice of Intent" form before the public school district considers the child withdrawn from school.

10 There is a statute that describes truancy. It is Conn. Gen. Stat. §10-184. It states, ""truant" means a child age five to eighteen, inclusive, who is enrolled in a public or private school and has four unexcused absences from school in any one month or ten unexcused absences from school in any school year."

11. There is no statute that states that children who are withdrawn from public schools by their parents are truant unless and until parents sign certain documents or comply with any other demands made by public school districts.

12. The public school district in Bridgeport is demanding that the parents of a 10 year old handicapped boy sign a "Notice of Intent" form before the school district will consider the child withdrawn from school, even though the parents previously notified the school district, in writing, that the child was withdrawn from school. In Bridgeport today, in East Hampton last year, and in other towns across the state, the public school districts, upon advice from the state Department of Education, is refusing to acknowledge written notification by the parents that the child is withdrawn from school, is demanding parents sign a "Notice of Intent" form that is not required to be signed under state law, is threatening the parents that if they don't sign the form their child will be considered truant, is filing a truancy complaint with DCF and/or Juvenile Court, and is ultimately threatening that continued "non-compliance" will result in the possible loss of parental custody of the child.

13. There is a statute that prohibits coercion. It is Conn. General Statute Section 53a-192. It states in relevant part, "A person is guilty of coercion when he compels or induces another person to engage in conduct which such other person has a legal right to abstain from engaging in…by means of instilling in such other person a fear that, if the demand is not complied with, the actor or another will… take or withhold action as an official, or cause an official to take or withhold action."

14. There is a statute that prohibits harassment in the second degree. It is Conn. General Statute Section 53a-183. It states in relevant part, "A person is guilty of harassment in the second degree when…with intent to harass, annoy or alarm another person, he communicates with a person…by any other form of written communication, in a manner likely to cause annoyance or alarm…in a manner likely to cause annoyance or alarm."

15. There is a statute that defines "property". It is Conn. General Statute Section 53a-124(a)(3). It states in relevant part, "property consists of a public record, writing or instrument kept, held or deposited according to law with or in the keeping of any public office or public servant…"

16. There is a statute that prohibits extortion. It is Conn. General Statute Section. It states in relevant part, "A person obtains property by extortion when he compels or induces another person to deliver such property to himself…by means of instilling in him a fear that, if the property is not so delivered, the actor:… use or abuse his position as a public servant by performing some act within or related to his official duties… in such manner as to affect some person adversely…"

17. Because the state Department of Education is aware of these statutes, and because, nonetheless, it is advising the public school districts to compel or induce parents to engage in signing a Notice of Intent form or other conduct which the parents have a legal right to abstain from signing or engaging in, the state and the public school districts are abusing their authority, and committing the criminal act of coercion.

18. Because the state Department of Education is aware of these statutes, and because, nonetheless, it is advising public school districts to compel the parents to comply with demands, when the school district writes to parents intending to alarm the parents that they face truancy charges and the potential loss of custody of their children unless they comply with the demands of the public school districts, the state and the public school districts are abusing their authority and are committing the criminal act of harassment.

19. Because the state Department of Education is aware of these statutes, and because, nonetheless, it is advising public school districts to compel or induce parents to deliver a Notice of Intent by instilling in the parents a fear that if the Notice of Intent is not so delivered, the public school district will use its position as a public servant to report the child to DCF and/or Juvenile Court as truant with the potential loss of parental custody of the child such that the school district benefits from receipt of the Notice of Intent and continued control over the parents, the state Department of Education and the public school districts are abusing their authority and committing the criminal act of extortion.

20. This is what parents are outraged about, and this is why they will continue to fight such abuse of authority and criminal acts on the part of our government officials.

If you feel you need further assistance, contact Attorney Deborah Stevenson at N.H.E.L.D. (info@nheld.com) or phone her at 860-354-3590. Additional details on CT law, the Guidelines and the law) are available at her website: http://www.nheld.com/ Attorney Stevenson, and her Research Director Judy Aron, have a radio show where they discuss educational and parental rights in CT.
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