Districts hassle new home schoolers
For years, Home School Legal Defense Association has assisted member
families throughout the state who have encountered difficulties withdrawing their children from public school to begin home schooling. School districts continue to rely on erroneous information and unlawful local policies when dealing with families who file affidavits to commence home education.
After submitting an affidavit to the Bethlehem Area School District and attempting to withdraw their son from public school, one member family was informed that the student would have to remain in public school until his home education program was "approved" by public school officials. The district gave no indication as to how long it would take to review the family's affidavit and educational objectives. HSLDA responded to the district outlining the legal requirements for home schooling in Pennsylvania and emphasizing that unless there was some major deficiency in the affidavit, the family was authorized by statute to commence home schooling without any approval by public school officials.
When filing an affidavit in the William Penn School District, another member family was told that the school board's policy was to disapprove all home education program "applications" filed after August 1. In a letter to the district, HSLDA Attorney Dewitt Black pointed out that the home education statute only requires that a notarized affidavit must be filed "prior to the commencement of the home education program and annually thereafter on August 1 . . . ." Thus, parents are free to begin a home education program at any time during the school year so long as they file the affidavit prior to commencement of the program. HSLDA's intervention thwarted the district's effort to deny this family's right to teach their children at home.
- Dewitt T. Black