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2/2/2007 10:18:02 AM
Home School Legal Defense Association
South Dakota--Bogus Homeschool Complaints may Jump after Misleading Article

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From the HSLDA E-lert Service...
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February 2, 2007

South Dakota--Bogus Homeschool Complaints
May Jump after Misleading Article

Dear HSLDA members and friends:

Black Hills Today recently published a misleading online article that
misconstrued homeschool law and may have confused families and
officials and unintentionally encouraged bogus complaints against
homeschool families.

The article said: "Anyone, anywhere at anytime can alert the state
office that schooling in a particular home might not meet state
requirements. ... The state then typically asks a local authority to
investigate..." The article was entitled: "South Dakota Home School
Certificate Revoked: Aberdeen Family Looses [sic] Homeschool
Certificate."

The article implied that as soon as there is a complaint against a
family, they can be subjected to an investigation. This is wrong.

To protect families from harassment through bogus complaints, South
Dakota law only permits the secretary of the Department of Education
to investigate if there is probable cause. This means the complaint
must be based on more than just a suspicion or anonymous tip. The
secretary must give the family 14 days written notice. Finally, the
only records the secretary can request are those pertaining to
attendance and academic progress, not "curriculum," as the article
erroneously stated (South Dakota Codified Laws 13-27-3 and 13-27-7).

I spoke with Secretary Rick Melmer on January 23. I reminded him of
what the law requires concerning investigations, and he confirmed that
he understands the law and it is his policy to follow it.

Unfortunately, the misleading Black Hills Today article may spur
groundless complaints against homeschool families. HSLDA will insist
that member families are protected from bogus reports to the full
extent of the law.

Sincerely Yours,
Scott A. Woodruff

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