Home Lake schools, family in dispute
Lake schools, family in dispute
Written by Larry Limpf   
Thursday, 11 October 2012 15:22

As of Thursday, three children of a Lake Township couple involved in a dispute with the local school system were still not attending classes while their parents were considering home schooling them.

Jeff Hoff and Kristy Hunter said they had concerns about the safety of the children after reading comments on the district’s website and Facebook page that “bashed” the family.

Their son, Tyler Hunter, has been attending classes at Penta Career Center but daughters Taylor Hunter and Alexis and Shelbylee Hoff, who had been enrolled in the middle and elementary schools, have not attended class since earlier this month.

Kristy and Jeff Hoff (holding elevated sign) and their children Alexis and
Shelby Hoff and Tyler and Taylor Hunter. (Press photo by Tammy Walro)

The family moved out of their rented Moline-Martin Road home late in September. The Wood County Health Department has declared the home uninhabitable.

The family temporarily lived in a tent at Maumee Bay State Park and the parents each school day transported their children back to the home where they were picked up and dropped off by the school bus.

But on Oct. 5, Anne Fetchik, Lake’s enrollment coordinator, notified them by letter the administration had learned the children didn’t reside at the address the parents provided to the school district and that proof of residency was needed, such as a current utility bill.

Residency proof or tuition payments would be needed by Oct 15., the letter says. It asks Hoff and Hunter to contact the school principals with any questions.

Hunter said the district hasn’t followed regulations covering homeless families and she doesn’t intend to meet with school officials without legal representation. She said she felt threatened when she met with administrators.

The family staged a protest Monday along Lemoyne Road near the district campus, holding signs stating the children had been unfairly kicked out of school.

Hunter and Hoff say they believe a neighbor on Moline-Martin informed the district the family had moved from the home they were renting.

Jim Witt, school superintendent, said Wednesday other parents have moved out of the district and brought their children back to the bus stops without informing the district of the move so their kids can still attend the school district.

“This isn’t a foreign situation to us,” he said. “So we did some checking and the stories kept changing. It wasn’t until Friday (Oct. 5) that we were informed by Kristy they were homeless. It was followed up by a call from Children Services that confirmed indeed they were. That was all the information we needed right from the beginning.

“This is a situation that had we been informed right from the get-go we wouldn’t be where we are now. The kids have never been kicked out of our school district.”

From a legal standpoint, nothing is preventing the couple from letting the children continue attending Lake schools, he said. 

The family has since been staying at the Travel Inn, Hanley Road, which is located in the school district.

Bus route information for that area has been provided to the family, Witt said.

“Anybody that has worked with our school district knows we go out of our way to help people in need,” he said. “First of all, legally we can’t remove homeless children from our schools. There are laws covering those situations and we certainly would comply with those.”

Kristy Hunter said Thursday she’s completed the forms needed to home school the couple’s daughters but Tyler will continue to attend Penta.

Home declared uninhabitable
After an inspection of the home on Sept. 7, Kathy Shull, a sanitarian with the Wood County Health Department, declared the home on Moline-Martin uninhabitable.

“Observed at the time of inspection were damp and stained interior walls, inoperable and broken windows, windows without screens, water leaking into the basement, nonworking electrical outlets, and a large tree in the front yard…which could cause injury,” Shull says in a Sept. 25 letter to the county’s Job & Family Services office.

The health department notified the landowner, a Holland, O. company, of the violations in writing on Sept. 11.

The company filed an eviction complaint in Perrysburg Municipal Court, claiming Hoff owes rent and prevented the landlord from entering the premises.

Hoff, in his response, denies the claims and is seeking a judgment of $10,000.

A hearing is scheduled for Oct. 16.

Comments (18)Add Comment
posted by Alena Hog, October 12, 2012
Such issues are inspired by opportunity gainers or say antisocial.

RTA Cabinets
posted by Alena Hog, October 12, 2012
I think parents should aware about necessity of schooling away from home.
posted by kristy, October 12, 2012
Thousands of children in the United States are enrolled in some type of schooling at home. It is a choice ALL parents have, especially when parents and public school officials cannot see eye to eye on their issues, or when families don't want their children exposed to some of the things that do tend to happen at public schools. Our children Taylor Hunter, Alexis Hoff, and Shelbylee Hoff have been completely enrolled and accepted into the K12 program where 70% of their work is text book, and the other 30% is done online. Each child will receive their own laptop, printer, and fax machine, so that they can talk directly to the teachers. All 3 will still take the OAA's, and 3 girls will still be responsible for their own grades. We, the parents are not their teachers, our responsibilities are to turn in their daily logged hours. Our girls all have a social life, they go into public everyday. The way our girls were treated at Lake wasn't going to get them anywhere good emotionally, or educationally. We are a family that loves one another, and would do anything to help and protect our children. K12 is what is in their best interest at this time. All three of our girls plan on attending Penta Career Center, just as our son does. By that time, Lake Local Schools will not be their "home school". We thank the supportive teachers and staff at Lake, and we appreciate the thoughtful comments our girls received on Friday Oct. 5th, their last day.
This deeply saddens me
posted by Kim, October 14, 2012
I am amazed that all three comments are about home schooling really I could care less. This is about so much more than that this family is homeless and hanging on for dear life. I became aware of this story from a sweet 10 year old boy who lost his "friends" from this situation. He just wants someone to help them and bring them back to his school. How simple his thoughts are when we make this about so much more ... I am praying for this whole family to find there way and find a home weather it be Lake or somewhere else. I do think Lake could of been kinder in this situation and am very disappointed in them and now they have children there who are angry and confused.
posted by MelTrigger, October 14, 2012
As a parent of a child who was friends with one of the kids, I don't doubt for 1 min the parents are opportunist. The children need lots of Prayers they are the innocent ones and do not belong in this. Who uses their children to put them on the side of the road near the school holding signs about "our children and being homeless"?? Why weren't the parents holding the signs?? Where were your faces?? The one girl looks completely embarrassed trying to hide her little face. And of all to find out from several parents that you as parents so proudly posted the picture of these innocent children holding these signs on Facebook and then you wonder why the bashing. You ought to be ashamed using children to gain attention. Disgusting
posted by kristy, October 15, 2012
We are not opportunists. We the parents were out there all day holding signs. Our children wanted to hold these signs because they feel what happened to them IS wrong. It was totally wrong. We wanted to prove a point and we did. We did because Mr. Witt admitted to us that he was wrong, oh but he only did that when no one was around, except for us (our family) and Mr. Herman. Mr. Witt lied to the newspaper, of course, he had to keep his butt our of trouble, we knew that would happen, so be it. We have nothing to hide. For anyone who truly actully cares, then maybe you should have taken the time to see the paperwork that was given to us On Friday the day the children were withdrawn from Lake by LAKE SCHOOLS. What are we gaining as a family from any of this? Think about it. We have lost our home because it is UNINHABITABLE because our landlord refused to maintain it. That's not our fault. We called the Wood County Health Dept., that made the landlord mad, he filed an eviction, which in the state of OHIO is considered a retalitory eviction. We had NO choice but to move out after giving the landlord plenty of time to fix the problems. I did not create the rotted roof, nor any of the other three pages of health code violations. We have collected no donations, not looking to, we have incomes, definitely not looking for attention, other than fighting for OUR CHILDREN and what is RIGHT. Their education is being taken care of, Lake no longer has to worry about that since they didn't even worry about it when they actually went there. As a matter of fact, everything that is left from our home that we had in storage is being donated to LAKEWOOD Church for their giveaway next weekend. WHY? Because even after everything we've been through Jeff and I, including our children want to help others. We may not have a home, but we have each other, and that's all that matters. Again, I thank anyone that has taken the time to actually get all of the proof, and make an educated everyone else that thinks this has been easy on us and we just want attention, you're wrong, and maybe you should have been busy asking for proof, instead of assuming. Thank you.
posted by kristy, October 15, 2012
To answer your question, "where were the parents" and "where are our faces" We are on the front page of this newspaper HOLDING SIGNS. I'm sure you read that...and saw it. I, the mother am the first one standing there with my face showing! The father was told by the lady who took the picture to hold his sign high, so he did. We aren't hiding from anyone or anything. Ask me for proof since you think we are so wrong for protesting. BLAME THE SCHOOL, NOT US. THEY DID IT, NOT US. Very easy to assume, isn't it? Not so easy to take the time and actually dig into things a little...THAT is disgusting.
posted by Geneva, October 16, 2012
I had to read the article several times to see exactly where it stated the children were kicked out. I have yet to figure out how or why Jim Witt lied. Why in the world would a school not work with a family who is so desperately in need? That's the first indication that this family is not telling the whole story.

It was stated that the children were being ridiculed on Facebook. I guess it wasn't enough for the parents to have their children being made fun of that way, so they decided to slap some signs in their hands and have them picket too. I notice one of the adults didn't have the nerve to put the sign anywhere but over his face.

The best place for these children would be in a home where there is love and support. Love and support doesn't include them fighting adult battles. Mom and dad, get off the computer, get out and get a job (or two or three), and give these young people what they so desperately need.

I certainly hope Children Services is involved in this scenario. My heart hurts for those four, innocent kids.
I don't get it
posted by Kim, October 16, 2012
I guess I feel this whole article doesn't make sense, but I don't think attacking the family is a way to resolve anything. I mean "Do onto others as you would do to yourself" Simple and old advice, but the some of the mean comments coming out of this is horrible. I see lots of homeless families who do have "two to three" jobs and are still struggling and the people who are judging them are living in "their own little world" GET UP GO OUT and see these families they are all over Toledo. I don't understand why the mom has to get back on here and explain herself for every comment....GO forward move on and shake this off. My question is do you still need help or did you get some for your housing situation? I am truly sickened on how people are so callous and judgmental of this family, seriously walk a mile in their shoes and MY other big comment is this can end up being any of job loss, one illness, one bad tornado taking everything away from love your neighbor as yourself (this is especially to the neighbor who turned this family in when there house was condemned to live in and they lived in a tent I mean talk about kicking a dog when it is down). I really feel the press needs to follow up this story and write it better it is poor writing and investigating. I think the toledo blade is going to look into this better and maybe present things differently. I am still praying for this family and praying that God softens some of the others on here that are so judgmental.
posted by kristy, October 16, 2012
What can I day. Shame on you too... I don't need to defend myself to such ignorance. If you are so worried about my children then call children's services. I called them the day we became homeless. Like I said before, take the time to find out facts before downing me. Karma always makes its way around, that is for sure. Get a job, two or three? I have 5, and they are called our children.

Also that neighbor that likes to down my family told the police yesterday that I tried breaking into the Moline Martin rd. Home. The cops know I wouldn't do such a thing.

Even I pray for the people on here who bash my family...they should pray too, because Kim is job loss, one.sickness, one disaster can change your life, and God sees the judgement...he sees it!

posted by kristy, October 16, 2012
Kim, I forgot to thank you for caring about my family, and asking about our housing situation. Jeff and I paid a full months rent up front to stay at The Travel Inn. We are paid up until Novemeber 5. We haven't collected any donations, nor have we attempted to ask anyone for help. We haven't been to any food banks, and we aren't receiving any donations or help from friends or family.

It really upsets me, (but I let it go) that people ASSUME we have no income just because we became homeless in a matter of two weeks due to a home that is uninhabitable. I didn't even have time to look for another home and get us into a place that fast, so that is why we had no choice but to stay at the camp ground and then here at the motel. Sorry we don't rely on family to pay our way in life, and we are grown ups and it's OUR responsibility to do what we need to do for our family, even though we did not make that home uninhabitable.

For those that actually care, how about writing or calling the owner of the house located at 5902 Moline Martin Rd. Walbride, OH 43465. 419-215-6777 His name is Ousamma Ellisar. Or how about Kathy Shull who from the Wood County Health Department who wrote up the three pages of health code violations, and listed it as uninhabitable. Neither party has done their job to fix the home, or make sure it's been fixed.

I can only hope the Blade wants this story.
posted by Geneva, October 16, 2012
1. I am not bashing your family. I am calling YOU and your HUSBAND/BOYFRIEND/WHATEVER out. You sure do make it convient to hop online and retaliate to every comment made. Why? Don't you have other things to tend to, like looking for a JOB or 2 or 3? Seriously, the only people I feel badly for are the children who have no say in this matter. 2. Why in the world would anyone call the owner of the house you were staying in? Or the woman from the Health Department? What are we to say,"give them the house back? fix it! Then give it back to them." Seriously? You didn't realize living there that it was in that bad of shape? No, the rotting roof and the other issues weren't caused by you, but you chose to live there. Apparently money isn't an issue or you wouldn't have it to pay it up front at a hotel for a month. 3. I think you are an opportunist or you wouldn't have made such a grand gesture by protesting, going to the Press and now hoping for a story from the Blade. 4. I know you people, I know how you operate and I know you are users.

Go ahead and bash me. All I have to say to you is this: shame. on. YOU.
posted by kristy, October 16, 2012
Hiding behind your computer must be easy. Why don't you tell me who you are since you know who we are? That is funny. You're right, money wasn't a problem. I NEVER said it was, did I? No, you obviously can't comprehend things. I actually LOVE the fact that you tell me to get a job. Do you know my income? No.

As a matter of fact, while we went to court today, the magestrate asked us if we want back in that home. So, YES...we COULD go back to that home, but why would I considering it's uninhabitable, and the landlord isn't fixing it? If you actually had any clue as to what exactly is wrong with the home, then maybe your post wouldn't sound so ignorant.

Like I said before, I have 5 jobs, they are my kids...maybe you should stop hiding behind your computer, get off your butt, and stop judging people.

I have faith karma will bite you in your rear end! :)

P.S. GENEVA, don't feel sorry for my kids, because they think you're as ignorant as the owner of the house on Moline Martin Rd.

Have a wonderful evening. :)
posted by kristy, October 16, 2012

We didn't go to the press. They came to us. Call the editor if you don't believe that.

Like I keep saying, learn your facts, and you won't sound so ridiculous!
posted by Geneva, October 17, 2012
If money wasn't an issue, why were you homeless?
posted by kristy, October 17, 2012
Geneva, are you that uneducated? Homelessness describes the condition of people without a regular dwelling. Not that I have to explain to you everyday MY situtation since you obviously lack any sense of intelligence, but when given a paper by the Wood County Health Department that the home is uninhabitable, which we didn't know was considered that until given the letter, do you know of anyone that can find, and get approved for a home overnight??? So, therefor, we were considered homeless; lacking a regular dwelling. Now Geneva, your comments are ignorant and rude. SHOW YOUR FACE to me...quit HIDING behind a computer. :)
posted by Geneva, October 17, 2012
To answer your question, no I am not uneducated. I cannot fathom why you were living in a tent with your family if you indeed, had money. Why didn't you seek temporary shelter in a hotel as you are doing now if money wasn't an issue? Your story doesn't ring true to me. My comments are neither ignorant or rude, they are merely comments. I've not name called or been as obnoxious as you have been to me. I am concerned for your children. Your job is to care for your five children, I get that - but wouldn't you be better served working for a paycheck so you can provide for your family? Millions of families do it. I work two jobs, my partner works two jobs, we have a nice home, and we pay our bills. But we WORK for it. We work hard. We have had horrible things happen to us that we weren't expecting, but, I can tell you this: I would NEVER put a sign in my child's hand and tell them to stand in front of the very school that you claimed made fun of your children and ask them to protest. I don't care how angry I was. Bottom line, that wouldn't happen.

I am done. You go ahead and say what you need to say, I have said what I needed to say more than once.

God bless those innocent babies.
posted by kristy, October 17, 2012
They are ignorant and rude. Camping cost a heck of a lot more than this motel. I have receipts that I provided to this newspaper, and to everyone else that wanted to see. My family was not made fun of until AFTER the again, you are misinformed. Lake parents, if you teach your children to make fun of ANYONE, then you all are horrible parents and maybe child protective services should come to your home. You won't state who you are. Wonder why? Makes me think... I'm sorry that you still haven't grasped the concept of actually finding out FACTS before blowing off at the mouth. We as a family always camped. We had everything we needed to camp. I wanted to take MY kids camping for the last time of the season anyway. I'm glad you work...maybe you should work 3 jobs...I mean, you never know. :)

My son is 15, hardly a baby. Why don't you come back to reality and wake up. My kids made the signs...they wanted to protest. I'm sorry you don't think that YOU ARE YOUR CHILDS BEST ADVOCATE. Oh you even have children? You stated you have a "partner" maybe you don't have any, so you don't know what it's like to stand up for what is right for your children.

So concerned about my children? Call Child Protective Services. Oh, that's right, they already know...because I called them myself. You can't have children taken away from loving parents just because you temporarily live in a motel! So, think of something that actually makes sense on YOUR end.

Do you really think I care if you think my story rings true to you or not? I don't have to expalin anything to you, nor defend myself to you, but proving that you'd rather just hide behind a computer and act as though you are a "know it all" amuzes me. :)

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