|| LEGAL/LEGISLATIVE UPDATES
ACROSS THE STATES
Nurse requires immunization records
A Home School Legal Defense Association member family in Keokuk received an unexpected visit from their school district's nurse, who stopped by to tell them that she was updating her records that week and needed the children's proof of immunizations immediately. The family told the nurse that they had already sent the proof of immunizations along with their Competent Private Instruction forms the first year each child began homeschooling, as required by law. The nurse became upset and said that the files must have been lost because she did not have copies of the children's immunization records. The family, however, respectfully declined to provide any more copies.
After the nurse left, the family telephoned HSLDA for advice. We told them that they were not required to give additional copies of their immunization records to the school district. They could not be held responsible for the school district's loss of the files.
Shortly after the visit, the school nurse sent the family a letter, again asking for proof of immunization. The family called the nurse to inform her that they would not be sending additional copies, but the nurse refused to take no for an answer.
When the family notified HSLDA that they had been contacted again, we telephoned the school nurse, who quickly transferred the call to the superintendent. Surprised by the nurse's actions, the superintendent told her that she knew where the copies were kept and that there was no need to obtain additional copies from the family. The superintendent apologized and assured us the situation would not happen again.
Sioux City violates boundaries
The Sioux City Community School District recently sent a form to homeschooling families asking for information concerning what kind of year-end evaluation each family intended to submit. Neither this information nor the form is required by state law.*
Because Romans 13:5 teaches that "it is necessary to submit to the authorities," HSLDAmembers who are Christians sometimes wonder whether it is right to refuse a request from an authority. Romans 13:7 sheds light on this question when it says, "Give everyone what you owe him: If you owe taxes, pay taxes; if revenue, then revenue; if respect, then respect; if honor, then honor" (NIV). In keeping with this passage, in questionable cases we can ask ourselves, "What do I owe this authority? A completed form?"
In our country, government only has power the citizens have given to it through constitutions and laws. If an authority demands something that the law has not empowered him to demand, he is violating God's order.
Under applicable Iowa law, school districts have no power to require families to declare in advance how they intend to assess their children. Families clearly do not "owe" a completed form to their district. In the case of Sioux City's form, therefore, families can confirm and honor God's order by refusing to return the form.
HSLDA called the official responsible for the unauthorized request. She promptly admitted that families could ignore the letter. She ought to have said this in her letter rather than risk taking advantage of families who might not be familiar with the law.
by Scott A. Woodruff
* See "A plethora of forms".