October 9, 2013

Homeschoolers not “Excused” without Postage

Staff Attorney Mike Donnelly answers questions and assists members regarding legal issues in Ohio. He and his wife homeschool. Read more >>

One school district may have taken the concept of “reducing costs” too far when they began pushing for homeschool families to supply the cost of a postage stamp.

After submitting her notification for the school year, one homeschool mother received the normal letter of excuse, but with a strange note: “Although we are sending this via U.S. mail this year, please note that for the 2014-2015 school year and beyond, you will need to select one of the following options.” The letter listed “options” for families to receive their letter of excuse by email, in person or by self-addressed stamped envelope (“SASE”). After receiving this letter, the family contacted HSLDA for assistance in responding to the district.

HSLDA’s staff attorney for Ohio member affairs, Mike Donnelly, invested a stamp and wrote a letter to the school district. Donnelly’s letter explained the superintendent’s responsibility and requested the district change its policy to provide written letters of excuse to families without asking for the families to pay for the district’s postage.

What the Law Says

Although we can appreciate the school district’s desire and creative efforts to “save money,” the law is pretty clear that families are not required to submit email addresses as part of their homeschool notification or a SASE. Whether for privacy or logistics families have substantial and legitimate reasons for wishing to have a written letter of excuse mailed to them. Furthermore, the law is also clear that it is the superintendent’s responsibility to “send a letter of excuse” upon completing review of a homeschool notification.

The family received their excuse letter in the mail and expressed their appreciation to HSLDA in an email:

“Thank you so much … I appreciate your willingness to remind the district what they should be doing!” wrote the mother in an email to HSLDA. “I’m so glad I don’t have to fight that battle alone.”

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Protect Your Family

HSLDA is privileged to serve our members and defend homeschool freedom in situations like these where school districts overstep their bounds. 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 for our work enables us to defend individual families threatened by government officials and protect homeschooling freedom for all. Join now >>