March 1, 2012

Proof of Residency Exceeds Law and Reason

Last week Home School Legal Defense Association dealt with a school district’s policy that requires all students, including those in a home education program, to submit documentation verifying that their family resides within the district’s geographical boundaries. The Boyertown Area School District requires that parents provide a lease, HUD-1 Settlement Statement, occupancy permit, deed, or real estate tax bill and a driver’s license or utility bill indicating where the family lives. Additionally, the school district requested that an HSLDA member family provide them with their child’s birth certificate.

If this were not enough, Boyertown’s policy also states that the school district may conduct “neighborhood observations” (i.e., home surveillance) on a random basis throughout the year to verify residency.

One of the statutory requirements for conducting a home education program in Pennsylvania is that the parent file with the public school superintendent a notarized affidavit containing a sworn statement of the family’s address and telephone number. No other information or documentation relating to a family’s residence is required. Armed with this legal weapon, HSLDA Senior Counsel Dewitt Black sent the district’s homeschool director a letter informing him of the law and of the fact that our member family had no duty or intention to comply with the district’s unreasonable policy.