The Home School Court Report
No. 6

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School Attempts to Assign Grade Level

A Home School Legal Defense Association member family in Honolulu received a letter from their local public school principal stating that their son would be reported as being in the 3rd grade for the 2006-2007 school year and that the family could not change the record. Knowing that 2nd grade was the appropriate level for their son, Mr. and Mrs. Moreau* contacted HSLDA for help.

The Moreaus explained that two years ago, when their son had turned 6, they had submitted their notice of intent, indicating that their son was in kindergarten. However, various public school officials had told them that based on his age he would have to be listed in the 1st grade. At the time, Mr. and Mrs. Moreau thought they were required to list their son as being in the 1st grade, even though they taught him at a kindergarten level. This year, the Moreaus realized that they needed to straighten out the incorrect reporting or else their 2nd-grader would be expected to take Hawaii’s mandatory 3rd-grade tests.

After reviewing the situation, HSLDA Attorney Thomas Schmidt quickly contacted the principal on behalf of Mr. and Mrs. Moreau. Schmidt pointed out that under 18-12-13 of the Hawaii Administrative Rules, the parent is responsible for the child’s total educational program. Additionally, Schmidt explained that Hawaii law requires the parent to indicate the child’s grade level in the notice of intent as well as ensure that the curriculum used takes into account the interests, needs, and abilities of the child. Therefore, the Moreaus were correct in establishing their child’s grade level.

Since this is the second school in the state to attempt to determine grade placement for homeschool students, HSLDA also wrote a letter to the Hawaii Department of Education addressing the issue. We expect the department to affirm our position. The school district has acknowledged that the Moreaus have the right to determine the appropriate grade level for their child, and we expect that the district will give the Moreau family no further difficulties.

— by Thomas J. Schmidt

* Name changed to protect family’s privacy.