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WSBT 22 Fact Finder: How safe is home-schooling in Indiana?

How safe is home-schooling in Indiana? // WSBT 22

WSBT 22 looked into home-schooling regulations after it was revealed the Turpin children were home-schooled.

David Allen Turpin, 57, and Louise Anna Turpin, 49, were accused of keeping their 13 children captive in filthy conditions in Southern California.

Their father was listed in state records as principal of a school located at the home's address.

Who regulates Hoosier homeschools?

The Indiana Department of Education says in addition to reporting your enrollment, Indiana law requires 180 days of instruction and records to verify attendance.

If there is ever a question of educational neglect, the DOE says keeping good attendance records and records on continuing educational activity can help address concerns.

State law allows local public school superintendents to request copies of homeschool attendance records as a check.

A spokesperson for the Department of Child Services told WSBT 22 it is the law that any individual who has reason to suspect abuse or neglect has the duty to report it.

Homeschool advocates told WSBT 22 that rule applies to all schools and that they have close ties with DCS.

"All adults in the state of Indiana are mandatory reporters. I’m here today at my homeschool co-op. Any one of these mamas, if they thinks that I’m not treating my children right, she can go to this online hotline and report me,” said Alison Slatter, Indiana Association of Home Educators.

DCS leaders say if a report is made against a school, they have an Institutional Unit.

It assess the allegations and ensures the safety of the children involved in the report and under the care of the institution.

Who regulates Michigan homeschools?

Experts with the Michigan Department of Education told WSBT 22 Michigan has no authority under state law to inspect or license homeschools.

WSBT 22 found a parent or legal guardian who home schools his or her child is not required to hold a valid Michigan teaching certificate, permit or occupational authorization.

The law requires a parent or legal guardian of a child from the age of six to 16 to send his or her child to some form of schooling during the entire school year.

Registration with the MDE is optional for homeschool families.

Advocates said the home-schooling community does not tolerate mistreatment.

"What happened to the kids in California is absolutely horrific and every single home-schooler that I know or who I’m representing does not support or condone what happened to them. “Because that is not tolerable, not ever. Not in any community, not in any society. That's not home-schooling, that's criminal,” said Slatter.

Michigan law requires the reporting of child abuse and neglect by any school teacher.

MANDATORY REPORTING HOTLINES

Indiana: 1-800-800-5556

Michigan: 855-444-3911

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