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September 26, 2016

School Officials Offer Help—and Misinformation

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Families in two different counties got letters from school officials trying to “remind” them of the requirements for homeschooling. Unfortunately, the school officials had no idea what the requirements for homeschooling are. One district even had a policy to review the curriculum being used!

Tj Schmidt TJ SCHMIDT
Contact attorney for Kentucky

In Edmonson County, homeschool families received a memo from their local Director of Pupil Personnel (DPP) in July about homeschooling their children this school year. While it was written as a “reminder” to homeschooling parents, the memo insisted that they had to submit “as soon as possible” and “upon receipt of this letter” the following:

  • name of children
  • dates of birth
  • sex of children
  • student’s address
  • current grade (2014–2015 school year) [sic]
  • names and addresses of parents or guardians
  • name, address and phone number of home school (if different from parents)
  • names of all teacher and/or tutors

Also included with the memo was a copy of the district’s homeschool policy. It stated that DPP is available to meet with homeschooling parents to “review legal requirements” and “request a copy of the home school curriculum from the home school teacher.”

Homeschool families in Breathitt County received a similar correspondence. A letter dated September 1 informed them that the DPP “will be monitoring the curriculum and attendance records for all home school students who reside in the Breathitt County School District.” The letter went on to demand that parents submit their curriculum information and first month’s attendance by September 15 and then their future attendance logs on the 15th of each month.

HSLDA Staff Attorney Tj Schmidt contacted both school districts and highlighted what Kentucky law actually requires.

In Kentucky, homeschool parents typically submit their notice of attendance in a homeschool program no later than the middle of August in order to comply with state law (most public schools start the first or second week of August). By reporting during the first two weeks of school, they are presumed to be operating a bona fide private homeschool program.

Under Kentucky law, a parent who operates a private homeschool program must report “the names, ages, and places of residence of all pupils” to the superintendent of schools “within two (2) weeks of the beginning of each school year.”

No parent is required to meet with school officials when educating their children at home, nor are they required to provide curriculum information for review by school officials. While parents are obligated to keep attendance records and scholarship reports (i.e. report cards), they are not required to provide that information unless 1) they did not submit their notice within two weeks of the beginning of school or 2) there is individual evidence that they are not operating a bona fide homeschool program. No regular submission of attendance records is required by state law.

In his letter, Schmidt affirmed that our member families would maintain their records as required by state law, but that they would respectfully decline to comply with any demands beyond the law. Schmidt also informed these districts that we would defend the rights of our member families to homeschool and oppose any attempt to add requirements to state law. We expect families in both Edmonston County and Breathitt County to have no further problems.