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Charles County Rattles Saber, Promptly Retreats

As she had expected, Home School Legal Defense Association member Debbie Marshall (name changed to protect privacy) passed her regular homeschool program portfolio review in Charles County with flying colors.

A week later, she was horrified to receive a letter informing her that “upon further discussion and a follow-up review,” her homeschool program was not in compliance with the law. The letter added, “Your student must now be promptly enrolled in ... school. Failure to comply will result in this case being turned over to our Pupil Personnel Worker with possible action by the State Attorney’s Office.”

Debbie was given 10 days to comply. She quickly called HSLDA. We prepared a letter to the school official explaining that it was his actions—not Debbie’s—that violated the law.

In the letter, the school official had not detailed the alleged deficiencies of Debbie’s program—a violation of Regulation .03.B. He had conducted part of the review secretly, in violation of Regulation .01.E. He had given her 10 days to respond, in violation of Regulation .03.A, which entitles families to a 30-day response time. He also had violated Regulation .03.B(1) by failing to give Debbie an opportunity to correct any deficiencies in her program.

Regulation .01.F forbids counties from imposing requirements not specified in law. It was obvious that the official’s sudden change of heart and rejection of the portfolio was based on requirements not authorized under law, although he lacked the candor to explain what those requirements might be.

After pointing out how the official’s actions and letter violated state regulations, HSLDA respectfully requested that he withdraw his letter.

He didn’t. But the family has not heard another peep from him, and did not enroll their child in school.

— by Scott A. Woodruff