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Vol. XXVIII
No. 2
Cover
Spring
2012

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MARYLAND

Harford Goofs on Verification

Home School Legal Defense Association member Pam Smith (name changed to protect privacy) received a letter from Harford County Public Schools asking her to fill out an annual verification that her homeschool program would continue for the next year.* This struck Pam as odd. Her homeschool operates under an umbrella program, so no annual verification is due to the school system.

Pam asked HSLDA for guidance. HSLDA Senior Counsel Scott Woodruff helped her write a letter to the school system explaining that she did not need to provide annual verification.

After receiving Pam’s reply, the pupil personnel worker promptly acknowledged her error. She said it had resulted from files getting mixed up in her office.

Only families homeschooling under the portfolio option need to submit an annual verification, which can be done orally, in writing, or through any other means—no form is required. No information must be submitted except the names of the child and parents, their address, and whether the child will be homeschooled for the coming year.

We appreciate the worker’s prompt recognition of her error.

—by Scott A. Woodruff

* See “A plethora of forms.”

Wrong Answers from School Officials

When Gail Singleton (name changed to protect privacy) submitted her notice of consent form for her youngest child, the Washington County Public Schools staffer told her that she must fill out the form every year for all of her children.* That sounded wrong to her. A member of HSLDA, she contacted us for help.

HSLDA Senior Counsel Scott Woodruff urged Gail to contact the staffer again and get the demand in writing. The staffer refused, but offered to send her new blank forms every year, with a copy of the homeschool regulations. Singleton pressed the staffer for an answer: must Gail fill out the forms every year for every child?

Finally a different staffer admitted that the form did not need to be submitted each year. She said, “Someone else who did not know the law must have answered the phone the first time you called.”

Whether you are under the umbrella option or the portfolio option (the Singleton children happened to be in an umbrella program), a notice of consent form needs to be filed only once for each child. Your consent is deemed to continue as long as you homeschool the child.

If you change from one homeschooling option to another, you must notify the school system, but you do not need to use a form to do it. If you are under the portfolio option, you need to notify the school system each year whether each child will continue to be homeschooled—but there is no form you must use to do it.

This candid admission of the staffer is a good reminder that homeschool families cannot rely on school personnel for correct legal information. It is each family’s responsibility to educate themselves—either through using HSLDA’s extensive web resources, asking our helpful staff, or consulting some other reliable source.

—by Scott A. Woodruff

* See “A plethora of forms.”