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North Dakota

March 17, 2014

Attorney General Addresses Open Enrollment


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 >>

On January 14, 2014, Attorney General Wayne Stenehjem issued Letter Opinion 2014-L-01 stating that students receiving home instruction may participate in the state’s open enrollment program. This program permits students to enroll in school districts other than their district of residence and participate in academic classes and extracurricular activities. In reaching his conclusion, the attorney general relied upon the language of both the home education statutes and the statutes covering open enrollment.

When filing the statement of intent to supervise a home education program with the school district of residence, the parent must include any public school courses in which the child intends to participate and the school district offering the courses. The parent is also required to list any extracurricular activities in which the child intends to participate and the school district or approved nonpublic school offering the activities. The open enrollment statute provides, in part: “[A] parent who wishes to enroll a student in a North Dakota school district other than the student’s district of residence shall file an application for approval with the board of the admitting district and shall file a copy of the application with the student’s district of residence.”

The attorney general’s opinion stated that, based on other statutory language, a home educated child may not apply for open enrollment solely to participate in extracurricular activities in another school district. Only if a home educated child has already open enrolled in a school for the purpose of taking an academic course may the child also participate in extracurricular activities in that school. This restriction does not apply to a homeschooler desiring to participate only in extracurricular activities at the school district of residence or an approved nonpublic school. Finally, the attorney general said that regardless of whether the home educated child participates in extracurricular activities in the school district of residence, in an approved nonpublic school, or through the open enrollment process, the authority to determine eligibility to participate in extracurricular activities lies with the North Dakota High School Activities Association (NDHSAA). However, the rules of the NDHSAA should not contradict the statutory language.

Because state law entitles homeschool students to participate in open enrollment, as well as academic courses and extracurricular activities in their local school district, Home School Legal Defense Association will assist any of our member families whose children are denied their right to do so.

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