Originally Sent: 3/17/2014
|From the HSLDA e-lert service|
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Buckingham County Update
Dear HSLDA Members and Friends:
Last week Buckingham County homeschoolers made a powerful statement when they filled the school board’s meeting room to the point of standing-room only.
Before anyone could speak on behalf of homeschoolers, the chairman read a statement saying that everything that Superintendent Snead had recently done related to religious exemptions was with the board’s approval. The chairman asked if anyone in the room had actually been denied an exemption. No one had, of course.
The chairman’s statement was defensive in tone and did not address the core fact that superintendents and school staff have no role in religious exemptions under Virginia law. It also gave little indication as to what the board plans to do as we move forward.
Then several parents stood up and spoke about the importance of respecting liberty and parental rights. Heartfelt applause followed each speaker.
I spoke and emphasized that if the board wants to turn back the clock and demand live testimony (like many school boards did long ago), families have a right to present their live testimony before the full school board—not the superintendent or any member of his staff. But it’s simpler for everyone when religious exemption requests are presented through documentation only—without any live testimony.
Several days before the board meeting, I sent a formal letter to every board member individually. My letter explained the legal basis for families having the right to decline to give live testimony to anyone other than the full board itself. My letter can be viewed online.
It was reported to me that a small number of families have permitted a school staff member to question their children about their faith. Perhaps those families were not members of HSLDA and did not think they had access to legal help. If you know any families who are not members, please urge them to apply. Allowing school staff to question children may mean the family loses certain important legal rights.
The board now knows that the entire homeschool community is alert. The board can choose to follow a path that respects individual rights and restores peace in the community, or it can follow a policy that violates individual rights. Only time will tell which path they follow.
Thank you for standing with us for freedom!
P.S. We greatly value you and your support—it is a privilege to serve you! If you or someone you know is not a member of HSLDA, will you consider taking a moment today to join or recommend us? Your support enables us to defend individual families threatened by government officials and protect homeschooling freedom for all. Join now >>
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