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7/17/2003 2:04:52 PM
Home School Legal Defense Association
South Dakota--Error in State Form to be Corrected

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From the HSLDA E-lert Service...
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July 17, 2003

Dear HSLDA Members and Friends,

Despite state law that says that a birth certificate or related
affidavit for a child must be filed only once, line 15 of the
Department of Education's homeschool application form ("Application
for Public School Exemption Certificate") appears to require
homeschool families to submit it every year. This line 15 error has
led one school system mistakenly to pressure a family to supply
information although it was on file from a previous year.

I have discussed this situation with Dean Buchanan of the Department
of Education. He acknowledges that state law only requires a birth
certificate or related affidavit to be filed once. He agrees that
school systems should not pressure families for redundant
information. He hopes to have the form corrected soon.

RECOMMENDED ACTION

If you submitted a request for exemption in a previous year for a
particular child and you supplied the required birth certificate or
related affidavit, do not respond to line 15 as written. Instead,
write: "See this child's initial request for excuse."

BACKGROUND

In 1998, two homeschool families were unjustifiably prosecuted after
local school systems misinterpreted the old law. Home School Legal
Defense Association defended these families and they were found not
guilty. To prevent such prosecutions from happening again, the state
legislature in the 2000 session made several changes to the
homeschool law relating to birth certificate information.

One change clarified that parents must provide a certified copy of a
birth certificate or a notarized or witnessed affidavit "with the
initial request for excuse." (South Dakota Codified Laws sect. 13-27-
3.1) Because of this, families only need to provide a birth
certificate or related affidavit the first time they file a request
for excuse for a particular child. This is the case even if the
family subsequently moves to a different school district.

Sincerely,

Scott A. Woodruff
HSLDA Staff Attorney


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