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South Dakota

July 15, 2004
South Dakota School Board Refuses to Excuse Homeschoolers from Public School Attendance

On July 13, an HSLDA member submitted the required homeschool form to the board of Lemmon School District #52-2, in Perkins County (Northwest South Dakota). Though the board had excused many homeschoolers from public school attendance in the past, this time it refused in a 3-3 vote. The school district superintendent, who had recommended that the board issue the excuses, was aghast.

On July 14, HSLDA called the chairman of the school board, who had cast one of the "nay" votes, and asked for an explanation. He said, "Homeschooling has been approved with little scrutiny up to this point. We're going to find out what responsibility the board has in determining whether homeschooled children are really receiving an education." In South Dakota, this is not a legitimate reason for rejecting a homeschool program.

Later that day, HSLDA attorney Scott Woodruff called the school board's attorney and explained that the board's action violated state law. He recognized the problem immediately and apologized on behalf of the board. He said he would recommend that the board have another meeting as quickly as possible and issue the excuse to the HSLDA member and the other family that was rejected.

Though the board's erroneous denial of the excuse was troubling for the family, the attorney's quick apology and assurance that the situation will be rectified promptly will give the family some comfort as they await vindication.