There are reports of substantial misinformation being spread by school officials regarding a parent’s right to withhold their children from school during the upcoming ISTEP test. I’m not sure if this comes directly from Glenda Ritz’s office or if school district administrators are generating it on thier own accord, but, either way, it wouldn’t surprise me. We will post more information on this tomorrow after I corroborate what I found, but my current understanding is that there are no penalties to schools or teachers if they fail to test at least 95% of students, as long as your child “refuses” the test. There is no specific “opt-out” right, but you do have the right to “refuse” the test and must use that language. If your child “refuses” the tests, or you, as their parent, send a note stating that they do, their test isn’t scored as a zero. Thus, there is no penalty to the school or teacher.
The only thing I wanted to clarify tonight in regards to refusing the test was a report from a parent who was told that if they don’t bring their child to school and force them to take the test, they will call the Department of Child Services and report them for truancy. Well, they call whoever they like, but Indiana Code 5,SEC.27.IC 20-33-2-23 protects an absent child from being picked up and taken into custody if the absent child is with a parent, or accompanied by a relative by blood or marriage who is at least 18. (see the code below)
If you are threatened with this type of language, politely ask them to put it in writing and sign the statement. My guess is, they’ll cave. If school administrators are threatening parents with false sanctions like this one, I hope the IDOE looks into it and not only fires those citing this, but arrests them for making threatening remarks.
5,SEC.27.IC 20-33-2-23 Powers of certain officers to take children into custody. Sec. 23. (a) Each school attendance officer, sheriff, marshal, andpolice officer in Indiana may take into custody any child who:(1) is required to attend school under this chapter; and(2) is found during school hours, unless accompanied:(A) by a parent; or(B) with the consent of a parent, by a relative by blood or marriage who is at least eighteen (18) years of age;in a public place, in a public or private conveyance, or in a place of business open to the public.