Across the States
Relative’s Complaint Leads to State Investigation
Home School Legal Defense Association member Laura Howard (name changed to protect privacy) called us in concern when she received a request for her homeschool records from the state department of education. A relative had complained to the local school system in southeast South Dakota about the Howards’ homeschool program, and the local superintendent had sent the complaint, with some other information available to him, to the state secretary of education.
HSLDA Senior Counsel Scott Woodruff prepared a letter to the state explaining that, under South Dakota Codified Laws § 13-27-3, the state can ask for homeschool records only if there is probable cause to believe a family is out of compliance.
The state’s reply listed information about the family that the local superintendent had provided. While highly doubtful, the information detailed would likely amount to probable cause if true. In order to satisfy the state’s doubts, Woodruff advised Howard to send the state the attendance and progress records required under § 13-27-3.
After a long hiatus, the school superintendent asked Howard for additional information. Under the law, the local school system has no authority to request information about homeschools-only the state. On Woodruff’s recommendation, Howard did not provide the information requested.
Both the local superintendent and the state subsequently dropped the matter.
—by Scott A. Woodruff