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South Dakota

December 1, 2010
Rapid City Retracts Denial after HSLDA Intervenes

Carol Bettel’s (name changed to protect privacy) son went through a phase, as many kids do, when he was sick often. She always provided doctors’ excuses for her son’s absence from public school, but when the school threatened her with truancy if he missed any more, she filed an application for excuse and began homeschooling him.

Shockingly, the school board rejected her application. They presumed they could deny her application because her son had so many unexcused absences that he could be considered truant. And they began to include the days since his homeschool program began as additional unexcused absences!

Carol contacted HSLDA for help.

HSLDA Senior Counsel Scott A. Woodruff wrote a letter explaining that Bettel had satisfied every requirement to homeschool lawfully. He pointed out that concerns about truancy are not a lawful basis for a school board to reject an application for an excuse.

Woodruff followed up with a phone call to the local public school administrator. After explaining that he was new to the job, he and Woodruff discussed the statutes. He soon agreed with Woodruff that the school board must approve the application.

He confirmed that Carol’s application to homeschool would be approved as of the date she filed it.