Originally Sent: 2/12/2014
|From the HSLDA e-lert service|
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Statewide Threat to
Senior Counsel Scott Woodruff answers questions and assists members with legal issues in your state. He and his wife homeschooled their children.
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Dear HSLDA Members and Friends:
We urgently need your help to detect quiet new efforts across the state to get local school boards to adopt policies that are hostile toward families homeschooling under the religious exemption.
HSLDA has no way of learning that hostile policies are in the works unless you tell us! We would like to find one or two parents in each town, city and county who will act like “spotlights.” We would ask them to do three simple things:
(1) Read your school board’s official agenda (should be easy to find on the internet) before each monthly meeting to see if it mentions homeschooling or the religious exemption.
(2) In advance, ask one school board member to contact you if anything related to the religious exemption, or any other homeschool issue, is in the works.
(3) Contact HSLDA if you uncover any effort to adopt a bad policy toward homeschooling in general or the religious exemption.
If we can get a “spotlight” in every town, city and county, we can probably prevent the adoption of policies that would turn us backward to a time when school boards were very unfriendly toward freedom.
Would you like to be a “spotlight” in your area? If so, please email me at firstname.lastname@example.org. In the “subject” line of your email, type the name of your town or county, so I know which school board you are available to act as a spotlight for.
Our religious exemption statute is crystal clear as to who has the right to be exempted. But it says virtually nothing about what process school boards should follow. The most common practice today across the state is for the family to submit a simple letter stating their beliefs.
But only a few years ago many Virginia school boards demanded full-blown hearings “on the record” for every family who wanted an exemption. As time went on, however, school boards realized that hearings and other complicated procedures were expensive, stressful, and actually a waste of time. Most of the red tape for the exemption was weeded out.
But the Virginia School Board Association’s annual convention in November offered a workshop session on the religious exemption that questioned current practices. From the report we received, we expect that many who heard the presentation probably went back to their home towns thinking it was time to launch a crusade to “fix” how school boards handle religious exemptions.
Right now someone may be pushing your school board to adopt a policy that tries to turn the clock back to an era when getting a religious exemption involved a great deal of time, expense, and red tape. This actually just happened in two counties that we know of: Pittsylvania and Caroline. Warren and Hanover counties recently made unfriendly changes to their religious exemption policy without the homeschool community even being aware.
Is it happening in your county? We won’t know unless a “spotlight” shines on your school board. Are you up for it?!
Thank you for standing with us for freedom!
Scott A. Woodruff
Senior Counsel, HSLDA
P.S. We greatly value you and your support—it is a privilege to serve you! If you or someone you know is not a member of HSLDA, will you consider taking a moment today to join or recommend us? Your support enables us to defend individual families threatened by government officials and protect homeschooling freedom for all. Join now >>
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