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March / April 2005

Taylor broke ground with NCAA
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Franklin does the right thing

Several Home School Legal Defense Association member families in Franklin County recently filed for religious exemption from compulsory school attendance as allowed by Virginia law. However, an assistant superintendent demanded to meet with each family. HSLDA asked him to forgo the interviews and process the exemptions without them, but he refused.

We reviewed a number of our earlier religious exemption cases in Franklin and concluded that during previous interviews, families had been intimidated or manipulated, or felt the assistant superintendent was trying to talk them out of pursuing the exemption. In one case, an assistant superintendent personally denied an HSLDA nonmember's exemption despite the fact that the school board, not the assistant superintendent, has sole statutory authority to make the decision.

We decided the best strategy was to remove the assistant superintendent from the religious exemption process. HSLDA Attorney Scott Woodruff wrote directly to the school board chairman, explaining that the board's duty under law to handle religious exemptions could not be delegated to an assistant superintendent or anyone else. HSLDA sent detailed legal arguments supporting the exemptions.

Several weeks later, the school board followed HSLDA's advice and approved all the exemptions! We applaud the school board for taking their responsibility seriously.

— by Scott A. Woodruff