Originally Sent: 2/11/2014

From the HSLDA e-lert service…
Home School Legal Defense Association

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Caroline County School Board’s Surprise!

Homeschooling in Virginia

Help protect religious freedom.

Senior Counsel Scott Woodruff answers questions and assists members with legal issues in your state. He and his wife homeschooled their children.

Dear HSLDA Members and Friends in Caroline County,

Thank you for calling and writing the Caroline County school board members! And I specially want to thank those of you who attended the meeting last night—and even more so those who spoke!

During the public comment section of the board meeting last night, I and two other homeschool parents raised the issue of Cathy McConnell suddenly announcing a new religious exemption policy last week. I quoted this passage from McConnell’s letter: “It is our policy to annually follow up with families who are educating under the Religious Exemption to verify evolving beliefs of the parents and child(ren).” The letter can be viewed here.

After pointing out that McConnell’s statement is definitely not part of the board’s official policy as posted online, I asked the school board if her statement really reflected the board’s policy. The school board chairman said, in effect, that the board had never heard of such a policy and would take my question “under advisement.” In other words, the school board was as surprised as you were!

Having confirmed that the school board had nothing to do with the supposed policy McConnell announced, today I followed up and sent a detailed letter to each board member explaining the problem and offering a solution. My letter may be viewed here.

Action Requested

If you have not contacted the school board representative for your district, please call, write or email him or her this week with this message: “Please read Scott Woodruff’s letter dated February 11 and follow his recommendations.”

My recommendations to the board are:

1. To clearly state that the so-called policy is not the policy of the Caroline County school board; and

2. To instruct anyone involved in processing religious exemption paperwork that no change is to be made in procedures without the board’s specific prior approval as articulated through an appropriate change to the formal policy; and

3. That any such change in policy is to be arrived at in a cooperative fashion by establishing a transparent dialogue with the stakeholders—the homeschool community of Caroline County.

Contact Information

To find which Caroline County school board member represents you, click on this link and enter the information the form requests, including zip code. Click “search.” On the next screen, look for the word “Districts” in blue, and click the plus symbol next to it. When the item expands, look for the entry that says: “Election.” The name of your election district is listed there (For example, “Mattaponi District”). Make a note of your district. Then click on this link.

This page lists school board members. Under each school board member’s name is the district they represent. Your school board member is the one whose entry lists your district. To email the board member, click on their name on this page. Or to call or email your board member, you may use this contact information:

Nancy G. Carson, Chairperson
Mattaponi District

George L. Spaulding, Jr.
Bowling Green District

Shawn M. Kelley
Madison District

Tinka B. Harris
Port Royal District

Mack A. Wright, Jr.
Reedy Church District

Dr. Mary J. Anderson
Western Caroline District

Thank you for standing with us for freedom!

Scott A. Woodruff, Esq.,
Senior Counsel,
Home School Legal Defense Association

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