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North Dakota

November 8, 2013

School District Backs down from Unlawful Policy


HSLDA Senior Counsel Dee Black assists members with questions and issues regarding North Dakota homeschool law. He and his wife homeschooled their children. Read more >>

After first denying a homeschool family’s right to enroll their son in academic courses in public school, Grand Forks Public Schools did a complete turnaround after Home School Legal Defense Association intervened on our member's behalf.

According to North Dakota law governing home education, the statement of intent filed by the parent must include, “[a]ny public school courses in which the child intends to participate in the school district offering the courses; and [a]ny extracurricular activities in which the child intends to participate.” In this case, the parent designated both public school courses and extracurricular activities in which her son was to participate. But the school district responded in a letter that its written policy only permitted the homeschooler to participate in extracurricular activities. Enrollment in curricular courses was not allowed.

HSLDA Senior Counsel Dewitt Black sent a letter to the assistant superintendent who had corresponded with the family and pointed out to him that Grand Forks’ policy was contrary to state law. Black said that by enacting the homeschool law, the North Dakota Legislative Assembly had authorized students in a home education program to participate without limitation in public school courses and extracurricular activities. Black also threatened legal action against the school district if it continued to deny the student access to the courses.

This week HSLDA received a letter from the assistant superintendent at Grand Forks notifying us that after reviewing Black’s letter, the school district had decided that the homeschool student “may enroll and participate in any courses” at the middle school.

HSLDA continues to remain neutral on legislation permitting homeschoolers access to public school resources. But in cases where state law grants homeschool students the right of access, we will undertake to enforce this right to avoid mistreatment of home educators by public school officials.

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