September 5, 2007

When Bureaucrats Hate to Give Up Control

Home School Legal Defense Association members Steven and Tabitha Hopple moved from Pennsylvania, with its highly restrictive homeschool laws, to the more favorable climate of Maryland in March of 2007, and notified their former school system.

On July 6, the Central Dauphin School District in Harrisburg, Pennsylvania, wrote the family demanding the mounds of year-end paperwork the family would have had to file had they stayed, and enclosed three pages of Pennsylvania homeschool regulations in case the family had any doubt. The family courteously reminded the school system that they had previously given notice that they moved out of Pennsylvania in March, well before any year-end items were due.

With misguided tenacity, the school still refused to relinquish control over the lives of the family members. The school system’s program specialist responded:

“We never received a request for your records to be sent to a new school. Have you registered with your new school district and submitted your portfolio there? Please provide me with your new address and school district for our records. I must submit a change of address form with our administration building.”

Exasperated, the family called HSLDA for help. HSLDA attorney Scott Woodruff wrote a polite letter explaining that the family was no longer subject to Pennsylvania law and asking the program specialist to withdraw the demand for documents and information.

More than two weeks passed with no reply. Woodruff wrote another letter, and sent it certified mail. Missing a golden opportunity to end the relationship on a note of goodwill, the program specialist—who was so free with words when making demands—wrote a terse, one-sentence response: “Please consider the matter closed.”