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School denies parent-set grade levels
The Wrights,* a Home School Legal Defense Association member family, recently moved to Mililani and submitted their notice of intent letter to the local middle school.† Within a short time, they received a response from the public school principal, disputing the children's grade levels.
Based on the children's dates of birth, the principal stated that they should be instructed at different grade levels than the ones their parents had chosen. Not wanting their children to have to "repeat" already completed grades, Mr. and Mrs. Wright immediately contacted HSLDA for help.
HSLDA Staff Attorney Thomas J. Schmidt quickly contacted the Mililani Middle School to defend the family's right to determine grade level placement. Schmidt reminded the principal that parents are to indicate the child's grade level in their notice of intent, and that it is beyond the principal's authority to "assign" a grade level different than the one chosen by the parents.
Additionally, Hawaii law requires a child's educational program to be based on his needs and abilities. If the Wright family were to place their children in the grade levels indicated by the public school principal, they would be ignoring the abilities of their own children.
The principal responded that he was following the policy of the Hawaii Department of Education in assigning children to an age-appropriate grade level. In order to stop this public school policy from being applied to homeschool parents, Schmidt contacted the department directly.
HSLDA is confident that the public school officials will drop all objections to the grade levels chosen by the Wrights.
—by Thomas J. Schmidt
* Name changed to protect family's privacy.
† See "A plethora of forms"