Don’t be intimidated in the slightest by attendance officer

Dear Editor,

This letter is in response to “Home School Students Must Comply” (5/27) by Frank Valadez, Gilroy Unified School District attendance officer.

For more than a decade, the California Homeschool Network has guided many thousands of parents through the process of establishing their own private schools in compliance with California law. We have some very good news for the families of Gilroy Unified and for Mr. Valadez.

The legislature of the state of California has honored the right of parents to make educational choices on behalf of their own children. Parents may withdraw their children from public school and enroll them in a private school at any time without permission from Mr.Valadez or any other GUSD employee or board.

Parents who form their own private schools should follow the steps outlined in a helpful free pamphlet called “Just the Facts” downloadable at www.californiahomeschool.net. Personal assistance is available by calling 800-327-5339.

Once a private school has filed an affidavit with the California Department of Education, a simple letter notifying GUSD that a child is being withdrawn and enrolled in a private school is all that is necessary. If Mr. Valadez will read the full text of the laws he cited, he will find that his legal authority is strictly limited to verifying that a private school has filed an affidavit with the State Superintendent of Public Instruction. No appointments, no requests for exemption, no review board, no truancy proceedings, no referrals to the Santa Clara County District Attorney – a simple phone call to the State Department of Education will do the trick. So the good news, Mr. Valadez, is that your job is a whole lot easier than you thought.

Jackie Orsi, CHN Legal Rights Committee, Hayward

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