State Inspects Home Schools by Mail
So far during the 2000-2001 school year, Home School Legal Defense Association has assisted 10 families who have been asked to participate in a Home School Inspection by Mail Program in correspondence from the North Carolina Division of Non-Public Education (DNPE). Families receiving this form from DNPE are given the option of completing the form and returning it or meeting with a DNPE staff member to provide the information sought in the form. Additionally, parents are requested to mail copies of their attendance records and test results to DNPE by June 30, 2001.
Home schools in North Carolina are required by the provisions of General Statutes of North Carolina § 115C-549 and 115C-557 to make available for inspection at the principal office of the school all test records for a period of one year after the testing. These are the only records which must be made available for inspection, although other statutes require home schools to make and maintain annual attendance and disease immunization records for each child. There is no requirement that parents participate in any inspection by mail program of the test records, although parents may choose to do so if they so desire. Parents who elect not to participate in this program remain subject to the statutory requirement to make the test records available for inspection at their home at all reasonable times, except that the inspection may be conducted only once a year. This testing record inspection requirement does not obligate families to permit state inspectors to enter their home.
DNPEs Inspection by Mail form seeks information beyond what is required by state law, including the schools telephone number, name of the county where the school is located, student enrollment by sex and age, confirmation that the school is operating on a regular schedule, and confirmation that attendance and immunization records are being maintained.
HSLDA does not discourage home schooling families in North Carolina from utilizing the state form as requested by DNPE. However, parents operating home schools should be knowledgeable of the limitations of authority granted to DNPE by the North Carolina General Assembly. Dewitt T. Black