Always verify electronic documents reach their intended recipient

Technology is great. It makes tedious processes more efficient and saves people time and money. I fully advocate the use of technology in homeschooling. However, sometimes the same technology that protects us can also hurt us. That’s what happened when these parents relied upon a third party to submit their documentation to the school district.

Believing they were in compliance with the law, the Constants were surprised to learn in the last week of February that the school district had filed an application for Linda Constant’s arrest and scheduled a court hearing to consider issuing the warrant. The school district claimed they never received the attendance reports and that the Constants were in violation of the law. In collaboration with the online service through which they had submitted the attendance reports, the Constants identified the problem. Although they had filed their monthly attendance reports, the school district had never received them. The reports had been blocked by the security system on the school district’s servers.

Homeschooling, Technology, and a Threatened Arrest Warrant — HSLDA to the Rescue

There are two things I want you to pull out of this article:

1. An online service cannot guarantee your documentation will be received by a school district.
2. You are solely responsible for making sure you’re in compliance with state law.

I don’t fault this couple. They signed up for a service that advertised itself as an easy way to meet GA state homeschooling regulations. They had every expectation to believe that the electronic forms they were filing would reach their school district. In fact, I’ll bet this service was recommended by another homeschooling family.

However, a phone call (or certified letter) to the school district at the beginning of the school year to make sure that everything is in order would have been prudent.  I’m sure the school district normally sends a letter to the parents indicating they’ve received any letters of intent.  When that letter didn’t arrive someone should have made a call to the superintendent’s office.  Granted, if they are new to homeschooling they may not have known to expect any material from the school district.  Again, I really can’t fault them.

The service they were using probably does this for dozens of families in dozens of school districts in Georgia.  It’s possible that each school district’s IT infrastructure is maintained individually and so there is no state-wide standard for firewalls and filtering.  At the very least this service should refund their money.  If it were my company I’d offer them lifetime service for the inconvenience.

We as parents are responsible for our children’s schooling.  We are responsible to make sure we’re following all state regulations (unless you want to be a rebel) to ensure a safe and viable learning environment for our children.  Always follow up with a real person when submitting documents electronically via an online service with at least a telephone call.  At most it will take 30 minutes out of your day but it will save you a lot of frustration in the end.

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