Every year, there are parents who come up against resistance from the school or the ESD when they withdraw their child from the public school. And every year, the OCEANetwork Freedom Watch Team comes alongside those parents to set things straight.
We work with homeschooling parents and take action to make sure that schools and ESDs understand and follow the Oregon homeschool laws, that they stop trying to impose illegal requirements on parents, and that any harassment and threats stop immediately.
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What If the Schools Harass Homeschoolers?
It’s important to know the homeschool laws in Oregon and to reach out to OCEANetwork if a school starts harassing you after withdrawing your child from the public school system.
The main requirements for homeschooling in Oregon are to submit your letter of intent to your ESD and complete the required testing for certain grades. You are NOT required to notify the district or the school (although some do as a courtesy), attend a closing meeting, or even to reply to the schools or phone calls. If you hear otherwise from school officials, please contact us ASAP!
Unfortunately, often public school staff doesn’t know or chooses to ignore Oregon homeschool laws. In that case, they may try to insist that parents complete additional requirements or meetings. Regardless of their intent, these requests are illegal and you are not required to do them. In fact, we recommend you not.
So what happens if a school starts harassing you? Contact OCEANetwork!
How OCEANetwork Can Help
Friends, the Lord is gracious and continues to bless the work of our Freedom Watch Team! Schools, superintendents, and ESDs know about OCEANetwork and our vital role in protecting and expanding homeschool freedoms in Oregon. Many know that members of our team were involved in the drafting of the homeschool laws and OARs that interpret them.
… And even if they don’t know that, they soon find out that we’re effective at going to bat for our constituents (that’s you, the Oregon homeschooling family) and making sure that parental rights and homeschool laws are respected.
Here are a few recent real-life stories of the Freedom Watch Team in action. We give all praise to God and thank Him for the ways He has orchestrated these resolutions. (You can help us continue this important work by becoming an OCEANetwork Supporting Family!)
9/25/20 – Today our Freedom Watch Team called a district superintendent to resolve an issue where a school clearly wasn’t understanding homeschool law and was pestering a parent who started homeschooling this year. Rodger from our Freedom Watch Team called the superintendent, including the parent in on the call.
In this instance, the parent was receiving letters and repeated phone calls from the school, being told they had to have a close out IEP meeting or they would continue getting those letters and phone calls. The parent had already done everything legally required and it was teetering into harassment.
Our team explained to the superintendent that the parent had done everything legally required in order to homeschool, was not required to have a closing IEP meeting, and wasn’t even required to respond to the school’s letters and calls. We also asked that, beyond the annual “ready to serve” letter required by Federal law, any communication from the school on this matter end right away.
The superintendent was amicable and agreed with our understanding of the requirements and homeschool law. He said he would communicate this information with the school and make sure that staff understood. He also said that the letters and phone calls would end.
When a school or district won’t listen to a parent, they’ll often listen to OCEANetwork as an organization. Time and again, we’ve seen the Lord moving behind the scenes to make the work of the Freedom Watch Team succeed in these instances, also allowing us the opportunity to educate schools and legislators on homeschool law and requirements along the way.
9/29/20 – This past weekend, the Freedom Watch Team was on several phone calls, coming to the assistance of a new homeschool mom who was being bullied by the school.
The school questioned her ability to homeschool her special needs child, insisting that she meet with them first. They also refused to return equipment that belonged to the children’s hospital and generally communicated to the parents in such a way that they were becoming concerned the school staffer might involve CPS with a false claim of educational neglect.
After our team talked with the mom several times, the Lord took care of some obstacles we encountered and provided an opportunity for us to facilitate a phone call where the parents were assured by the superintendent that they were NOT legally obligated in any way to the school, did NOT have to attend any meetings nor respond to any communications from the school, and that they would certainly NOT be filing any claims or interfering in any way with the parent’s rights to educate their child as they see fit. All delivered with an apology, an agreement to return the equipment ASAP, and a commitment to stand ready with services should the parents decide to use them.
The Freedom Watch Team also arranged for the parents to sign up with HSLDA and helped them prepare to set up a PDP for their special needs student. The final call ended with many tears of relief and thanks. We give thanks to God and are happy to serve this family and all Oregon homeschoolers!
Several new homeschool parents are going through similar experiences right now and need to know that OCEANetwork is here to help! If you or anyone you know hits similar roadblocks with schools, districts, or an ESD, please reach out to us. It’s part of the reason we’re here, and we’re happy to serve Oregon homeschoolers!
OCEANetwork is an all-volunteer, non-profit organization that exists to protect and expand homeschool freedoms in Donations from OCEANetwork Supporting Families make it possible for us to continue this important work. Will you consider helping?
We’re honored to continue serving homeschoolers in Oregon!
~ The OCEANetwork Team