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Date:
From:
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2/5/2003 3:57:34 PM
Home School Legal Defense Association
Minnesota--New Legislation Would Protect Homeschool Privacy

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From the HSLDA E-lert Service...
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February 5, 2003

Dear HSLDA Members and Friends,

We have been concerned about homeschool privacy in Minnesota since
early last year. Home School Legal Defense Association discovered
that the Department of Administration had classified homeschool
records as "public data," that must be released upon request. Now,
several friendly legislators have introduced House File 168 and
Senate File 99, which are intended to protect the privacy of
homeschool and private school students. We urge your strong support
for this legislation.

ACTION REQUESTED

1. Email the members of the House Education Policy Committee and the
Senate Judiciary Committee (call if you live in their district). Your
message should be short and polite, such as, "Please pass H.F. 168
and S.F. 99 in order to protect homeschool and private school
privacy."

House Education Policy Committee:

Chair: Barb Sykora (651) 296-4315
rep.barb.sykora@house.mn
Vice Chair: Mark Olson (651) 296-4237
rep.mark.olson@house.mn
Lyndon Carlson (651) 296-4255
rep.lyndon.carlson@house.mn
Jeff Anderson (651) 296-4193
rep.jeff.anderson@house.mn
Dick Borrell (651) 296-4336
rep.dick.borrell@house.mn
Mark Buesgens (651) 296-5185
rep.mark.buesgens@house.mn
Randy Demmer (651) 296-9236
rep.randy.demmer@house.mn
Rob Eastlund (651) 296-5364
rep.rob.eastlund@house.mn
Sondra Erickson (651) 296-6746
rep.sondra.erickson@house.mn
Bud Heidgerken (651) 296-4317
rep.bud.heidgerken@house.mn
Jeff Johnson (651) 296-5511
rep.jeff.johnson@house.mn
Tony Kielkucki (651) 296-1534
rep.tony.kielkucki@house.mn
Karen Klinzing (651) 296-1147
rep.karen.klinzing@house.mn
Doug Meslow (651) 296-5363
rep.doug.meslow@house.mn
Carla Nelson (651) 296-0573
rep.carla.nelson@house.mn
Stephanie Olsen (651) 296-4280
rep.stephanie.olsen@house.mn
Alice Seagren (651) 296-7803
rep.alice.seagren@house.mn
Marty Seifert (651) 296-5374
rep.marty.seifert@house.mn
Dean Urdahl (651) 296-4344
rep.dean.urdahl@house.mn
Lynn Wardlow (651) 296-4128
rep.lynn.wardlow@house.mn
Connie Bernardy (651) 296-5510
rep.connie.bernardy@house.mn
Len Biernat (651) 296-4219
rep.len.biernat@house.mn
Jim Davnie (651) 296-0173
rep.jim.davnie@house.mn
Kent Eken (651) 296-9918
rep.kent.eken@house.mn
Mindy Greiling (651) 296-5387
rep.mindy.greiling@house.mn
Mike Jaros (651) 296-4246
rep.mike.jaros@house.mn
Ron Latz (651) 296-7026
rep.ron.latz@house.mn
Carlos Mariani (651) 296-9714
rep.carlos.mariani@house.mn
Gene Pelowski (651) 296-8637
rep.gene.pelowski@house.mn
Nora Slawik (651) 296-7807
rep.nora.slawik@house.mn


Senate Judiciary Committee:

Chair: Don Betzold (651) 296-2556
sen.don.betzold@senate.mn
Vice Chair: Wesley J. Skoglund (651) 296-4274
sen.wes.skoglund@senate.mn
Richard J. Cohen (651) 296-5931
sen.richard.cohen@senate.mn
David Hann (651) 296-1749
sen.david.hann@senate.mn
John C. Hottinger (651) 296-6153
John Marty (651) 296-5645
sen.john.marty@senate.mn
Thomas M. Neuville (651) 296-1279
sen.thomas.neuville@senate.mn
Julianne E. Ortman (651) 296-4837
sen.julianne.ortman@senate.mn
Ann H. Rest (651) 296-2889
sen.ann.rest@senate.mn

2. Forward this email to other homeschoolers and families that have
children in private schools. Your help in relaying this information
will enable them to exercise their rights as citizens.

BACKGROUND

Most Minnesota homeschoolers are aware of the privacy concerns that
surfaced after the Department of Administration released Minnesota
Advisory Opinion 00-052. It states homeschooled children are not
"students," whose privacy is protected under state and federal law.
This means that a school district that released homeschool
information "did not properly disseminate private educational data
about" the homeschool student.

The new legislation would solve this problem by specifically stating
that "data collected by a public school on a child that must be
reported pursuant to Section 120A.24 is private data." "Private data"
should be contrasted with "public data," which under Minnesota's
Sunshine Law must be released upon request. In particular, homeschool
information shall not be designated "directory information," which
may be released to the public. "Directory information" typically
includes name and address information for children enrolled in the
public schools. It is often used by reporters for stories on student
athletes, award winners, and so forth. The information is also used
by the United States military for recruiting purposes, pursuant to
federal law. Directory information is also available to direct mail
marketers, and is one source of junk mail.

Under the new privacy bill, the information that homeschoolers and
other private school families submit by October 1st each year is
"private data," which shall not be designated "directory information"
without prior written consent by the parents. The only exceptions to
this privacy protection occur when data is released pursuant to a
valid court order, a statute that specifically authorizes access to
private data, or for bona fide public health concerns. (Since
homeschooled students do not generally attend public educational
agencies or institutions, this last exception will rarely be
invoked.)

Without your calls, these bills may not be successful. Please contact
your legislators immediately.

Very truly yours,

Scott W. Somerville
HSLDA Staff Attorney

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