HSLDA Media Release
December 19, 2002

HOME SCHOOL LEGAL DEFENSE ASSOCIATION SAYS MAINE PRINCIPALS POSITION ON HOMESCHOOLERS VIOLATES LAW, CALLS FOR REVERSAL

For immediate release
December 19, 2002
Contact: Rob Zeigler
(540) 338-8663 or robert@hslda.org

Home School Legal Defense Association has called on the Maine Principals' Association to reverse its recent policy of denying homeschooling students the right to participate in extracurricular activities with private schools.

A letter from HSLDA attorney Jim Mason to the MPA's attorney, stated HSLDA's position that the MPA policy is in violation of Maine law and federal constitutional rights of the homeschoolers. The letter promises HSLDA will seek a preliminary injunction against the policy if MPA does not immediately reconsider..

HSLDA is the nation's preeminent home schooling organization with more than 76,000 member families, including more than 500 in Maine.

The letter was sent in response to the recent policy change by the MPA, articulated in a memo from MPA Executive Director Dick Durost, to forbid many homeschoolers from participating in extracurricular activities, particularly athletics, at private schools. After a 1995 decision by the Maine legislature, homeschoolers were free to play sports and participate in other extracurricular activities in public schools. Prior to the MPA memo this year, homeschoolers participated on private schools' teams without controversy.

The HSLDA letter strongly urges the MPA attorney to "advise your client to reconsider its position of denying homeschool students the right to participate in athletics and extracurricular activities with member private schools." It goes on to note that the U.S. Supreme Court has ruled that interscholastic athletic associations may be sued for violating federal civil rights, and that states being prohibited from restricting parental rights in relation to home education, is well established among federal, constitutional case law.

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For further information or to speak with HSLDA Attorney Jim Mason, contact Robert Ziegler at 540-338-8663. A copy of the letter accompanies.