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A hearing officer with the Vermont Department of Education (VDE) has handed down a decision, holding that the department's form demanding special education screening information is acceptable. The stage is now set for the Vermont Supreme Court to rule on this important issue.
Even though Mr. and Mrs. Taylor* provided the VDE with Home School Legal Defense Association's recommended form regarding evidence of a handicap and had the form signed by a certified teacher, the department was not satisfied. The VDE insisted the family use a state-designed form, which asked for substantially more information than the statute allows. Because of this impasse, HSLDA represented Mr. and Mrs. Taylor at a hearing on March 8, 2002.
"We are not surprised with the officer's decision. It is uncommon for an administrative hearing officer to rule against a state agency," said Jim Mason, HSLDA's litigation counsel. "We've been preparing for a hearing before the Vermont Supreme Court from the very outset." Under Vermont law, [VDE] rulings can be appealed directly to the Vermont Supreme Court. HSLDA is in the process of filing an appeal.
*Name withheld to protect the family's privacy.