By: Krystle Crossman
New York City schools have been under fire for the way that they handle children who are being homeschooled. Their overuse of Child Protective Services is being brought into question. One family is even suing the city over the ordeal that they recently had to go through. Sadly NYC is not the only city that this is happening in. As more and more parents are pulling their children from public schooling, more CPS agencies are visiting homes. Some parents have even been arrested on neglect charges because the schools and the cities are not doing their due diligence when it comes to making sure all paperwork is properly filed.
The Acevedo family in NYC recently experienced this misuse of the agency. They had begun homeschooling their child, filled out all of the necessary paperwork and got the approval that was needed. Suddenly one night Child Protective Services agents were knocking on their door telling them that they were currently under investigation for educational neglect. The agents went through their home, took their child into a separate room and interrogated them, and even went through their refrigerator too make sure they had healthy foods stocked (this is a normal part of a neglect investigation). The mother, Tracy Acevedo, was told that she needed to go to the CPS office the following day with all of the documents that were required to pull her child from school and enroll in homeschooling. She quickly contacted the Home School Legal Defense Association (HSLDA) for help.
After her attorney’s investigation was complete they had found that all of her paperwork was filled out and turned in correctly. The problem was that the school district never filed the paperwork. Her son was not in school anymore and was subsequently marked absent every single day. After so many absences, CPS investigations are triggered. Sadly this appeared to be a very common occurrence and the HSLDA filed a civil rights suit against the New York City public schools. The law in New York states that a parent has 14 days to file all of the paperwork to homeschool their child after they actually pull them from school. They do not need to wait for approval from the district as long as they file all of the necessary paperwork and go through the proper legal channels. At this point the district is supposed to file the paperwork and the school should be notified. The districts have not been filing the paperwork as they should be which is triggering many unnecessary investigations. HSLDA attorney Jim Mason stated that the public schools felt that the parents needed permission before pulling their children out for homeschooling which is not in line with the law.