Innocent until proven guilty, right? It is a bedrock of law in our society. However, there are a couple of notable exception. Truancy is the big one. In general, any state or school official (not just Sheriff’s deputies and police officers) can detain any child not in school. That can cause some significant problems here in the Oklahoma City metro, especially since the OKC Council beefed up the state laws and applied them locally. Our schools are not all on the same schedule.

OKC Council members acknowledged the ordinance is strong-armed. “The system is so out of control that it’s going to take this kind of measure to move it back,” Ward 4 Councilman Pete White said. You can be fined simply for forgetting to call your child in sick for a day. Strong-armed is an understatement. 

Police going door to door? Yes, it is insane, and we would be filing suite in federal court if these were random marijuana searches. There’d be riots in the streets if immigration services was going door to door! Can you imagine greeting a policeman at your door who wants to come in and arrest you if your child is home? Worse, if he’s skipped school and you don’t even know it? Tulsa and other Oklahoma municipalities are considering doing the same.

Tulsa Police soon could be armed with another weapon to keep kids in school.” Police using weapons on our children? What are we coming to?

Honestly, these laws just don’t work. I’ve known teachers and law enforcement who worked it, and if the kids won’t go, or the parent isn’t engaged, there is just nothing that can be forced that will help.

This is happening in Oklahoma where our state constitution guarantees the rights of parents to homeschool!

Sure, there are due process procedures, but the part that should rile you is any state or school or municipal official can detain your child just for not being in school. Anyone heard any horror stories about state child services?

The law is written with caveats and reasonable wording, but the bottom line is that even a part-time clerk at the school can use this law to detain and take custody of my kid. The law is similar to our long existing state law, but this expands the number of potential abusers and brings this much closer to my home. While the law is reasonable, people who wish to abuse the law are often unreasonable.

Fundamentally, laws to compel citizens are wrong and evil. We must stop it. Bad laws invite abuse and intimidation.

I encourage home schooling because I believe it is best. I’m including information below from the Oklahoma Christian Home Educators Consociation. They must be expected to advocate home schooling for religious reasons. I do also, but that is not my focus. All of human history shows that mother knows best. No one cares about my children like I do. No one cares about our children’s education and success like my wife and me. I’m reminded of a comment from Senator Phil Gramm.

I had a nonreligious friend (boss, actually, but good friend with both me and my wife) who had her daughter at the same time as our second. This friend was turned off by the religiosity of most homeschoolers and home schooling advocates. She did some homeschooling, and she had her daughter in private school mostly, but she realized that she could teach her daughter better than anyone else. Religion was not her determiner, but I hope that all us religious folk can be more open, accepting, and nonconfrontational. This friend would have seen the love of God better had all our home school associates been more loving.

A side example: breast feeding. I encourage breast feeding because it is demonstrably best with multiple benefits. However, I am angered by those who push for it. You talk about a woman’s right to choose? No, as a husband, brother, and son, I have enough insight to know that nothing is more intimate. Nothing is more unique to a woman and her child, after the birth itself, than caring for her infant, particularly in feeding. Our baby formulas are plenty good. If a woman wishes to forego breast feeding, we need to be supportive, not condemning. The opposite applies when people take offense at a nursing mother in public. She and her child deserve our respect and consideration. We must honor our mothers. It is what is right! The same applies to schooling. We need to be supportive, not forcing!

I received this via email:

Requirements for Withdrawing from PS

As summer comes to a close and plans for the new school year start to take shape, many families are making the decision to pull their children from the public school system to educate and disciple them at home. It has come to our attention that numerous school districts in the NE section of Oklahoma have been distributing letters/forms to these families asking them to comply with requirements which are not necessary or legally required by Oklahoma statutes.

Some of these letters/forms look very official and can be very intimidating to even a veteran homeschool mom. If you, or someone you know, receives or has received one of these letters/forms, do NOT sign it. Please send a copy to C. Nicolai so that we can get them to HSLDA.
Oklahoma has no statues regarding requirements to withdraw a child from the public school system. However, I have a feeling we will see legislation this coming session addressing this. We strongly suggest, for your own protection, that you write a letter of withdrawal to the school releasing them of the responsibility of educating your children. This will keep truancy officers from knocking on your door. You can find a sample withdrawal letter HERE.
Each school district has different administrative personnel who may respond differently to your decision to home educate. In some cases, a personal visit, in addition to the written letter, may be needed. The following suggestions will give you maximum preparation that may not be necessary in all cases, depending on the cooperation of your local district.

  • Consider joining the Home School Legal Defense Association and/or some other support organization before contacting the school.
  • Be courteous. Be positive. Do not dwell on negatives. Simply explain that you feel that this is best for your child.
  • Come well prepared with a copy of the state law pertaining to homeschooling.
  • Do not volunteer any unsolicited information.
  • Ask for a copy of your child’s records.
Janet Barresi, the OK State Superintendent of Education, has publicly stated that she does not know where the schools are getting these forms and wants homeschool families to know that they are not required, nor are they legal, and is urging families not to sign them.
As the homeschool movement grows, we can only expect to see more incidents like this. Homeschool families are a threat to the public school system because we take away their funds. Don’t fall prey to their intimidation tactics. Stand strong and walk confidently in the knowledge that God who calls you into this journey will be with you every step of the way.