Home > Government Schools, Homeschooling > HSLDA to Missouri social worker: You don’t have jurisdiction

HSLDA to Missouri social worker: You don’t have jurisdiction

As Mr. Paragon (not his real name) pulled his daughter out of Springfield, Missouri, public schools, an official insisted that he file a “declaration of enrollment.” Since he knew the declaration is optional, he declined. Soon a social worker was knocking on Paragon’s door. She asked to question his daughter and inspect his home. He turned her down and contacted HSLDA for help.

HSLDA Senior Counsel Scott A. Woodruff wrote a letter to the social worker. He explained that under Missouri statute 167.031.7 (the last sentence) and statute 211.031.4., only prosecuting attorneys and juvenile officers have authority to investigate when the sole issue is homeschooling. He pointed out that if a family is reported to social services for homeschooling, the Children’s Division publication “Guidelines for Mandated Reporters” states that the social worker should simply refer it to the local school superintendent.

The superintendent then has the opportunity to end the matter right there. But if he thinks the circumstances warrant it, he can refer it on to the prosecuting attorney. Or he can refer it to the local juvenile officer who can in turn investigate and refer to the prosecuting attorney if necessary. But, as Woodruff explained, in no event does the social worker (or the superintendent) have jurisdiction to investigate the family when the only issue is homeschooling. Since receiving Woodruff’s letter, the social worker has left Mr. Paragon alone.


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