Several homeschooling families in Estill County, Kentucky, received home visits this summer from public school officials. Following one particular visit, the mother contacted Home School Legal Defense Association attorney T.J. Schmidt because she felt the two representatives were asking too many detailed questions.
"When the school officials showed up at her door, they [told] her, Well, we're just checking up making sure you've got everything that you need," the attorney explains. "As the conversation went on, though, she definitely got the impression that they were maybe even prying into her homeschooling program."
According to HSLDA, the pair of school officials said they were merely confirming with families that they really meant it when declaring their intention to switch from public school – and ensuring that those families new to homeschooling knew what to do.
Schmidt says in the case of this particular visit, they tried to put the mom at ease by telling her they were just members of the community like her – but that the woman grew uncomfortable when they asked her about the curriculum she was planning to use.
"I don't think simply because perhaps this school official was from the community that he wouldn't be harassing families who've made that decision to homeschool their children," he tells AFN.
Schmidt says because of the sharp increase in homeschooling due to the pandemic, public schools in many states are trying to coax parents to return.
HSLDA has informed the county superintendent it will defend the decision of any parents to homeschool using their choice of curriculum – and that the legal firm would be "closely monitoring" Estill County in the future and standing ready to assist parents who might feel harassed about their decision to homeschool.