April 22, 2004

Attorney General Vindicates Homeschoolers on Driver's Education

In July 2003, the Department of Motor Vehicles issued forms to implement the new law that allows parents to teach their children "behind-the-wheel" driver's training. Although superintendents have no power to "approve" homeschooling, the DMV forms required parents to obtain "a letter of approval to provide home instruction" from their local superintendent. Families with religious exemptions were also turned away from the DMV when they tried to obtain a license for their child.

HSLDA worked with the Attorney General's office over a period of months to reach a solution. In a written analysis, we pointed out that all the other code sections involving driver's training and driver licenses allow the homeschooler to self-certify compliance with the homeschool or religious exemption law. Homeschoolers do not need approval from the superintendent to homeschool or to teach their children "behind-the-wheel" driver instruction.

On March 9, 2004, the Senior Assistant Attorney General issued his opinion, which largely agrees with HSLDA's position. In fact, his opinion borrows portions of HSLDA's analysis and affirms that an approval letter from the school district is not necessary. His opinion tells the DMV to accept a copy of the family's notice of intent or a copy of their letter requesting acknowledgement of their religious exemption.

We will be working with the DMV as they prepare to issue forms that comply with the Attorney General's opinion. Until then, contact HSLDA for assistance in filing the current forms that purport to require approval before parents can provide "behind-the-wheel" driver instruction.
 Use the VA DMV link above for information necessary to obtain authorization to teach in-car instruction to your children. Send the DMV a copy of your own religious exemption letter, or notice of intent, along with the other required information.