From the HSLDA E-lert Service:


7/30/2003 5:00:00 PM
Home School Legal Defense Association
Hanover County, Virginia--Important Religious Exemption Meetings

From the HSLDA E-lert Service...

July 30, 2003

Dear HSLDA Members and Friends,

Early last week Hanover County Public Schools sent a letter to
homeschoolers who are on record in Hanover County as having a
religious exemption inviting them to participate in focus groups to
discuss religious exemption policy. This creates an opportunity for
homeschool families to have additional impact.


1. If you received an invitation, call Rosemarie Stocky (Director of
Instructional Support) at 804-365-4615, and tell her you would like
to participate. I will forward a review of the issues likely to be

2. If you received recognition of your religious exemption in another
county, you probably did not receive an invitation. You may call
Rosemarie Stocky and ask to participate in the focus group. If you
have any question about how this could raise possible legal issues
for your family, please call me.

3. Rosemarie Stocky has asked that people contact her by Friday,
August 1, if they are interested in being in the focus group.


On Wednesday, July 23, Joe Guarino of Home Educators Association of
Virginia and I met with Yvonne Wellford (an attorney for the school
system), Dr. Rosemarie Stocky, Dr. Jamelle Wilson (incoming Assistant
Superintendent for Instructional Leadership), and the outgoing
Assistant Superintendent for Instructional Leadership. We had a
lengthy discussion about the status of religious exemption policy and
regulations. These officials now understand the need for revising the
exemption policy better than before.


About July 1, Superintendent Stewart Roberson sent two letters. The
first was sent to reassure families who file a notice of intent.
This letter said, in part, that "...the revised regulation does not
address families..." who file the notice of intent. This is only
partly true, however. The revised regulation affects all families,
including those now filing a notice of intent, who may apply for the
religious exemption in the future.

A second letter was sent to families with recognized religious
exemptions. It said that families whose religious exemption had
already been acknowledged would not need to take any further action
concerning their exemption for the 2003-2004 school year. It also
said families applying for an exemption would not be subject to the
new regulation for the time being.

Your phone calls helped persuade the Board to suspend the operation
of the new regulation, allowing time for re-examination. Thank you
for working to help to protect the freedom to homeschool in Hanover

We must not accept the Superintendent's apparent assumption that
homeschoolers who file the notice of intent do not care about what
happens to our fellow homeschoolers under the religious exemption.
A policy that hurts one group hurts the other. Many families switch
from one option to the other at some point in time. The freedom to
exercise both options must be protected fully. All homeschoolers
must continue to help when the freedom to practice either option is

Sincerely yours,

Scott A. Woodruff
HSLDA Staff Attorney

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