Declaration of Intent for Under 8yo

Email of the Day:
I’m trying to withdraw my 5yo kindergartener and am getting the run around from the school and the district. They are pushing for a Dofi and saying that I have to submit one before they will withdraw her. I know that’s not right, but how can I get them to stop?

This is a common misconception that many school administrators hold that is contrary to state law.

I would write the following letter, and send it to the principal, CCing the superintendent of the district:

Parent Name
Parent Address
City, WA Zipcode

11 January 2017

Principal Name
School Address
City, WA Zipcode

Dear Principal Name,

I am writing you today as a courtesy to let you know that I am formally withdrawing my five year old, Child Name, from School, effective 11 January, 2017. As you know, state law does not require children under the age of eight to attend school, and even though state law does require six and seven year olds who are enrolled to attend, it does not require that of five year olds.

When I came to School on Date, Administrator Name informed me that, in order for my five year old to be withdrawn, I would need to submit a Declaration of Intent to Homeschool with the district. This is contrary to state law, which specifies, “This section does not require a six or seven year old child to enroll in a public or private school or to receive home-based instruction. This section only applies to six or seven year old children whose parents enroll them full time in public school and do not formally remove them from enrollment as provided in subsection (1) of this section.” (RCW 28A.225.015 (4))

My understanding, from having spoken to the Advocacy Chair of the Washington Homeschool Organization is that this is a common misconception held by administrative staff in schools across our state. She assures me that it’s generally done out of ignorance of the homeschool, not malice. However, my experience was very uncomfortable and it felt like Administrator Name was threatening me with a charge of truancy if I did not comply and file a Declaration of Intent. I hope that the law will be clarified with your staff so that the next family with a child under eight who comes in to withdraw will be given accurate information.

Thank you,

Parent Signature
Parent Name

CC: Superintendent Name

* * *

Then send one copy to the principal and one to the superintendent, and keep a copy for your files.

At this point, your duty under the law is complete until (2019? 2020? depending on your child’s birth date).

NOTE: If you are writing this letter for a child who is 6 or 7, I recommend that you send the Principal’s copy Return Receipt Requested. On the green postcard that you will out to be returned to you, write “Letter Withdrawing Child Name from School.” This will cost you about $6, but it will give you a paper trail in the event that the school continues to rack up absences against you and recommends your case to the court. When the postcard comes back, put it in your files.

If you don’t want to send it RRR, you can make yourself a copy, and write a note on it that you hand-delivered it to [Name of Person who took it at the school] on Date at Time.

The above letter should stop this cold, and should make the way smooth for the next family, at least for a few years. If you do get a summons from the court, I’ll guide you through writing to them to have the case dismissed, presenting the evidence you’ve kept above. It doesn’t happen often, but it does happen. I’ve been able to get the court to dismiss the court date with no issue using the above evidence.

~Jen Garrison Stuber, WHO Board Advocacy Chair