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West Virginia

September 3, 2009

Official Backs off Homeschooled Denial

Holly Hackett (name changed to protect her privacy), a member of HSLDA in northern West Virginia, homeschooled her daughter several years ago. Although her daughter made enough progress to satisfy state law, a local official pressured her into putting her daughter back into public school.

After several years in public school, and with middle school looming, Holly decided to homeschool her daughter again. She filed a proper notice of intent. But she received a letter from the local superintendent saying:

“As you will recall, I denied your homeschooling request for the 2005–2006 school year due to the fact that your daughter…was not succeeding in that educational environment…. At this point, I’m not prepared to approve your application to homeschool your children.”

The official proceeded to list five conditions that Holly would be required to satisfy before she would be permitted to homeschool her children, including quarterly proof that the children were learning what is required under the West Virginia standards of learning. The official also stipulated that her children must take the WESTEST at a local public school and submit a quarterly portfolio to be reviewed by a public school teacher of the official’s choice.

Holly called HSLDA for help. Our West Virginia lawyer, Stephen Schwartz, wrote a letter challenging the official. Schwartz’ letter refuted the official’s claim that he had ever “denied” homeschooling for this family. Schwartz explained that Holly had filed a notice, not requested permission, therefore she did not need the official’s permission and did not need to submit to his conditions.

The official promptly called Schwartz back and acknowledged that Holly could homeschool her daughter without obtaining his approval. We appreciate the official’s quick correction.