Districts Try to Enforce Certification
Before 1983 all schools (including church schools and home schools) had to use certified teachers. However, that year a church school exemption law was passed, allowing any school “operated as a ministry of a local church” to be free of teacher certification and school accreditation requirements. Ever since that time HSLDA has argued that home schools can legally operate as church schools or as satellites of a church school. However, not all school districts have recognized this option.
This fall Dallas and Russel Counties, Eufaula City, and Ft. Payne have told HSLDA members that they must be certified. Some of these families were asked to meet with local school boards, and others were required to enroll their children in public schools immediately. HSLDA attorney Chris Klicka has intervened on behalf of these families with positive results. We praise God that all the families are still home schooling and none of them had to meet with school officials. Mr. Klicka was able to convince the school districts of the legality of home schools operating as ministries of churches.
In Pell City one HSLDA member, who is a certified teacher, was required to provide instruction for more hours per day than the statute demands. God blessed as HSLDA legal staff contacted the school district, convincing them to correct their error.
Another major difficulty this year was caused when several families who were not affiliated with any church ministry were contacted by the school district. These people actually have no statutory defense. Although HSLDA was able to resolve these challenges, the average superintendent would normally refer such families to prosecution unless given a justification under the statute which shows them to be in compliance with the law. HSLDA strongly recommends that home schoolers who are not certified teachers either join an existing church school or convince their local church to sponsor them as a ministry of the church. Anyone who is interested in doing the latter can write to HSLDA for a memorandum on how to start a church school.