From the HSLDA E-lert Service:


10/14/2004 4:30:08 PM
Home School Legal Defense Association
Florida--Homeschoolers Subject to Harassment by Blanket Portfolio Reviews

From the HSLDA E-lert Service...
October 14, 2004

Florida--Homeschoolers Subject to Harassment by Blanket Portfolio

Dear HSLDA members and friends:

For many years, the Florida homeschool law has allowed school
districts to inspect the portfolios of homeschoolers with only fifteen
days written notice. Unfortunately, too many school districts have
misapplied this law by randomly harassing innocent homeschool

On October 4, the Lee County School District sent a letter to
homeschoolers requiring them to bring their portfolios for the
2003-2004 school year to the Student Welfare and Attendance office to
be "evaluated."

An appointed time has been set to meet with each homeschool family.
The reason given for the inspection was "due to the number of families
enrolled in the program."

It was never the intent of the Florida legislature that portfolio
reviews be conducted simply because of the number of people
homeschooling in a county! This is simply an abuse of the law and
intent of the legislature. The law is being used as a tool for

We believe that portfolio reviews should only be used if there is
evidence that a family is not in compliance with the law. It should
not be a common practice performed on a random basis.

If you do not want to have your portfolio inspected, contact our
office immediately and we will write a letter to the school district
on your behalf. If enough families stand together, we can make a
difference and stop this random practice.

Furthermore, homeschoolers who have religious reasons for
homeschooling could evoke the Florida Religious Freedom Act (Florida
Statutes Section 761.01 et seq) that HSLDA helped pass a few years
ago. This act provides religious homeschoolers with a legal means to
say "no" to the portfolio review; if the portfolio review is offensive
to the religious beliefs of the homeschooler. By evoking the Religious
Freedom Act the homeschooler can force the state to prove that the
fulfillment of a portfolio review "furthers a compelling state
interest" and is the" least restrictive means" of fulfilling its
interest that children be educated.

In Pennsylvania we are using that state's Religious Freedom Act to
successfully fight against a very cumbersome and regulatory homeschool
law that has substantially burdened families for years. Homeschoolers
who object to a portfolio review can evoke the Fourteenth Amendment,
which guarantees the right of parental liberty. The U.S. Supreme Court
has interpreted this liberty to include the fundamental right "of
parents to direct the education and upbringing of their children." A
demand by the school district to review portfolio records could be
found to violate these parental rights.

Therefore, HSLDA is willing to help any member families in Florida who
object, on parental rights to the random demand for a portfolio

Please let us know if you find yourself in this situation. We are
ready to assist.


Christopher J. Klicka
HSLDA Senior Counsel
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