The Home School Court Report
Vol. XXV
No. 1
Cover
January/February
2009

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VIRGINIA

Newport News drops birth date demand

Many member families recently contacted Home School Legal Defense Association about a letter they received from Newport News Public Schools, requiring them to give the birth dates of their children before the school system will “consider” a family’s “request” to provide home instruction.

Since birth dates are required for public school students’ files, it is easy for a school official to mistakenly assume that they are also required for homeschool students. Over the years, various Virginia school districts have tried to mandate the filing of homeschooled students’ birth dates. The potential for confusion is compounded by the fact that the Virginia Department of Education’s “model” notice of intent to homeschool calls for birth dates. State law, however, does not require them.

Furthermore, Virginia families do not need to “request” permission to home educate. They simply file a notice of intent. The school system’s suggestion that it will not “consider” a family’s “request” to homeschool without the birth date is simply false.

HSLDA Attorney Scott Woodruff called Newport News Public Schools and spoke with the staff member who had sent the letter demanding birth dates. He explained that state law does not require that families disclose this information. She acknowledged that was correct and confirmed that the school system would halt its practice of rejecting notices of intent without birth dates. We expect, however, that Newport News will continue to request birth dates on their form.

To make sure that they only submit information required under law, we recommend that families who are not under the religious exemption use HSLDA’s notice of intent form (available on the members-only section of our website), or submit a letter that contains all the information in HSLDA’s form.*

— by Scott A. Woodruff

* See “A plethora of forms”