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An inside look: UN's Special Session on Children

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Small advances

Ohio's homeschool regulations are reasonably clear and are designed to protect the rights of homeschoolers. Despite this, whether intentionally or by accident, many school districts infringe the rights of home educators. Each new school year gives Home School Legal Defense Association new opportunities to defend existing rights from these encroachments.

Sometimes, the issues are very small, like the way superintendents word their acknowledgement letters. When Superintendent York sent out a letter from Edgewood City that said, "This is to certify that your application for homeschooling for the following student(s) has been approved," HSLDA wrote to object. Under Ohio law, families do not "apply" for "permission" to homeschool. As long as an Ohio homeschooler provides the proper information, he must be excused from attendance. Superintendent York promptly responded, changing his letter to use the phrase "excused from attendance" rather than "approved."

Other districts pose more serious challenges. The Tuscarawas-Carroll-Harrison Educational Service Center has made a number of illegal demands year after year, and homeschoolers have routinely objected. This year, the district is finally beginning to shift its position. Although the district has not yet dropped its unlawful demands, it is suggesting changes and asking for HSLDA's input in response to HSLDA's letter. We encourage families in the Tuscarawas-Carroll-Harrison ESC to contact us for further information.

Scott W. Somerville