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Date:
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5/2/2003 12:55:05 PM
Home School Legal Defense Association
Maryland--Baltimore Adds Unauthorized Requirements

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From the HSLDA E-lert Service...
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May 1, 2003

Dear HSLDA Members and Friends,

Many homeschoolers received a letter from the Baltimore City Public
School System that makes several demands not authorized under
Maryland regulations.

1) First, the letter states: "It is mandated by Maryland State Law
COMAR 13A.10.01 that parents who home-school their child/children
must register annually." This is not correct.

Regulations require homeschoolers to file a notice, but it is not a
"registration." Furthermore, the notice need only be filed once.
Regulation 13A.10.01.01.B(2) says that the notice must be filed
"before the beginning of a home instruction program." A home
instruction program, obviously, only has one beginning. Under changes
to the regulations that we expect will be enacted this summer, this
rule is even clearer.

2) Second, the school system's letter states, "Please fill out the
enclosed notification form and return it to us as soon as possible,
but not later than May 9, 2003."

If you have submitted a notice of intent in a previous year, you do
not need to submit another one, either under the current or coming
regulations. In addition, May 9 is the wrong deadline. The initial
notice of intent is due 15 days before the homeschool program begins.
Under the coming regulations, the annual verification is due to the
school system or your umbrella before the school year begins.

3) Third, the school system's letter states, "If we do not receive an
updated notification form, your homeschooling status will be
cancelled and your child/children will be returned to a public or
private school."

An "updated notification form" is not required under the current or
coming regulations. A school system does not have power to "cancel"
your homeschool program, or order you to return your children to
public or private school.

Regulation 13A.10.01.04 forbids a local school system from adding
requirements for home instruction. The purpose of this regulation is
to protect families from local school systems that try to take
matters into their own hands. Since the letter from the Baltimore
Public School System adds new requirements, it is in violation of
this regulation.

Freedom is precious. You can help protect freedom for all
homeschoolers by disregarding the letter and its unauthorized
requirements.

When homeschoolers choose to comply with unauthorized demands, it
creates an atmosphere in which school systems expect all others to
comply. It encourages them to become more aggressive toward those who
refuse to acquiesce. If enough homeschoolers comply, it encourages
school systems to believe that this is the new standard, and then
press for new regulations to "bring into line" those who continue
refuse. To protect freedom, it is imperative that we use it, and
encourage others to do so, as well.

Please let us know at once if you receive any communication from the
system suggesting that they intend to enforce unauthorized
requirements. We stand ready to defend our members in the face of any
effort to violate their right to homeschool.

Sincerely,

Scott A. Woodruff
HSLDA Staff Attorney

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