Keeping records private
As reported in the July/August Court Report, homeschoolers this summer discovered a loophole in Minnesota state law that makes homeschool records basically public information once submitted to a local school district. (Read the details at www.hslda.org/hs/state/MN.)
The new school year has arrived, and many Minnesota school districts are still trying to sort out their privacy policies. Approximately one fifth of Minnesota school districts responded to Home School Legal Defense Association's letter asking for a clarification of their policy.
A few that never responded have a longstanding pattern of demanding every scrap of paper that a homeschool family is required to keep on file. HSLDA has explained to some of these difficult districts that until the district adopts a policy that will protect educational records, we are advising families not to provide more information than that required in the notice of intent.
Without a clear commitment from the district, the only way to protect privacy is to make sure the government never has the data in the first place. If your family would like to limit the amount of information you provide your district, please contact us directly at HSLDA.
On another front, many homeschoolers across Minnesota have been surprised to find their district demanding their notice of intent on September 15, two weeks before the actual deadline of October 1. The request for information by September 15 can be traced to Minnesota's statute that allows homeschoolers to use public school textbooks and other materials. All textbook requests must be in by September 15, and many districts decided it would be easier to move the October 1 deadline up to September 15 than it would be to send out two separate mailings to homeschoolers. Most Minnesota homeschoolers know the law too well to be confused by this, but many school officials seemed to believe they had the authority to change the deadline established by the legislature. Fortunately, a few letters from HSLDA attorneys seem to have helped clarify the matter. Please let us know if any districts are still insisting that the notice of intent deadline has been changed.
— Scott W. Somerville