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New Jersey

May 29, 2003
Old Bridge Township Goes Out Of Bounds

On May 13, Arthur G. Barnes, Principal of Old Bridge Township Public Schools Carl Sandburg Middle School sent a letter to a member making unauthorized demands of a homeschool family.

He "requested" the following items:

  1. A letter stating the family's intention to educate the child at home and to provide home schooling;

  2. A listing of all academic subjects;

  3. A copy of the curriculum with goals and objectives for each student;

  4. A schedule of days and hours of instruction;

  5. A listing of books and instructional materials.

No state law authorizes the principal of a school to make this request. No law requires a homeschool family to grant it. The letter is dramatically out of step with the policy of the New Jersey Department of Education. The Department's policy states that, "the mere fact that a child has been withdrawn to be homeschooled is not, in itself, credible evidence of a legal violation." The Department's policy does not permit or encourage local school systems to request information from homeschool families when there is no evidence of a violation of the law. The Department's policy is contained in a publication entitled, "Frequently Asked Question About Home Schooling In New Jersey," published in September of 2000.

HSLDA will communicate with Mr. Barnes and explain that his request goes beyond his legal power to enforce and take steps to ensure that the rights of our member family are not violated.