From the HSLDA E-lert Service:


1/11/2011 4:30:12 PM
Home School Legal Defense Association
Florida--Please Attend Lee County School Board Meeting Tonight

From the HSLDA E-lert Service...

Florida--Please Attend Lee County School Board Meeting Tonight

Dear HSLDA Members and Friends:

As some of you may know, the Lee County School Board is considering
some changes to the school district's policy on home education. While
they are not contemplating prohibiting homeschooling, several of the
changes to the policy are very concerning. HSLDA generally is opposed
to school board policies relating to homeschool requirements,
especially when Florida statutes already address home education. More
details on the specific concerns with the proposed policies are below.

We have contacted the school board and voiced our opposition, and
several local homeschool leaders will be testifying against these
changes. While HSLDA and other homeschool organizations, including
Florida Parent Educators Association (FPEA) and Homeschool Education
Foundation (HEF), have requested that this policy be pulled from the
agenda, it does not appear that this will happen. You can be a
tremendous help by coming out to show your support of home education
and your opposition to these policy changes tonight at 6 p.m. The
meeting will be in the Board Room at the Lee County District Office in
Fort Myers on 2855 Colonial Blvd.

If you want to comment on the home education policy tonight, you may
be put on the list to speak if you notify the parliamentarian in
writing of your name and issue you wish to speak on before the
beginning of the meeting. Public comment is limited to 1 hour, and you
will only be permitted to speak for 3 minutes. More information can be
found here: . The time allowed
for public comments on the agenda will be at the beginning of the
board meeting, just after the special presentations.


The proposed Lee County School Board changes to Home Education Policy
4.27 can be found here: (pages

HSLDA has the following major concerns about the proposed policies:

The Lee County Home Education policy at (1)(a) states that "[t]he
notice [of intent to homeschool] must be filed within 30 days of
beginning a home education program...." This is not in line with
Florida Statutes 1002.41 which states that the notice "shall be filed
within 30 days." While "shall" and "must" can be interchangeable, this
is not always the case. Since the Florida legislature has used the
term "shall" and the courts have not defined what "shall" means in
this context, it is inappropriate for the Lee County School Board to
interpret state law to mean "must." An additional concern about the
difference is that "shall" can be interpreted as advisory, whereas
"must" could prohibit a parent from filing for a home education
program if they fail to submit their notice within the first 30 days.

Of even greater concern is the proposed changes to (1)(b) which reads
"[t]he portfolio shall be submitted to the Superintendent or his/her
designee upon request within 15 calendar days of the request...."
Under Florida Statutes 1002.41 a parent shall make the portfolio
"available for inspection by the district school superintendent, or
the district school superintendent's agent, upon 15 days' written
notice." Thus, under Florida law, a homeschool parent must have a
minimum of 15 days written notice before they are required to submit
their portfolio. However, the Lee County School Board policy requires
the portfolio to be submitted within 15 days of the request by school

The proposed Lee County policy states in (2)(f) that the
Superintendent or their designee is to "Make school attendance
enforcement referrals to school social workers when a parent/guardian
of compulsory school age students fails to comply with the
requirements of the Home Education Program." While there may be some
situations that warrant referral to the school social workers,
mandating reports for any misunderstanding between parents and home
education officials is not a good idea. The policy is also unclear as
to what "requirements" it is referring to. Does is mean that if you
fail to follow state law or, more likely, does it mean if you fail to
follow all of the Lee County School Board Home Education policy that
you will be reported to the school social worker?

Due to these troubling proposals we are asking that you attend the Lee
County School Board meeting tonight at 6 p.m. If you are able to make
it and are interested in doing feel free to get on the public comment
list to raise the concerns above.

Thanks for all of your efforts on home school freedom!


Thomas Schmidt
HSLDA Staff Attorney

-> Can you look at the clouds and tell the direction of the wind?

An interesting phenomenon of wind is that it can blow in multiple
directions at the same time, at different heights from the ground.
But usually there is a prevailing wind. HSLDA watches the gusts
and monitors the prevailing trends of change in the legal climate
of home education. So no matter which way the wind is blowing,
we're there to protect your family.

More reasons to join HSLDA...

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