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Legal How-To: Withdrawing Your Child From Public School

By Brett Snider, Esq. | Last updated on

For one reason or another, you may wish to take your child out of the public school system.

Perhaps you're dissatisfied with the curriculum, the school's treatment of your child, or just the institution of government-funded education. In any case, you'll need to legally withdraw your child from public school before you can physically remove him or her from classes.

To help ease your child's educational transition, here are a few steps you may need to follow in order to legally withdraw your child from public school:

1. Be Mindful of Compulsory Education Laws.

One of the major reasons that you need to give notice to the state and local government that you are removing your child from public school is that all states have some form of compulsory education or truancy laws. This can become a problem if children are homeschooled without first going through the required legal channels.

Many states require that children be compelled to attend some form of schooling from age 6 to age 18.

2. Send a Withdrawal Notice to Your Child's School.

Although many states do not require you notify a local school district of your intent to homeschool a child who has never attended public school, in order to avoid truancy charges, you'll likely need to inform the school that you're withdrawing a child from school.

States like Texas, for example, may only require that you send a withdrawal letter (via certified mail) to the school, stating that you will be withdrawing him or her at a certain time and will begin homeschooling. According to the Texas Home School Coalition Association, this notice when combined with additional assurance that the curriculum covers the basic subjects may be all that you legally need.

Other states may require proof of attendance in a private or satellite school program, but you still need to give the child's current school a heads-up.

3. Qualify Your Homeschool as a Private School.

Some states may make it legally opportune to register your individual homeschool as a private school in order to withdraw your child. For example, in California, as long as homeschool teachers notify the state that they will maintain a student's attendance records and offer instruction "in the several branches of study required to be taught in the public schools," your homeschool may be considered a private school.

Need More Help?

Taking your child out of public school without following the proper procedures can land a parent in trouble. If you're still worried about complying with state education laws, you may want to consult an experienced education attorney in your area about how to withdraw your child from public school.

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