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September 22, 2008

School District Makes Unlawful Request for Information

Homeschool families living within the boundaries of the Mason County school district were recently surprised to receive a letter from their local director of pupil personnel (DPP). Among other things, the letter demanded that homeschooling families provide copies of attendance records at the end of each month. The letter further requested that report cards would be submitted at the end of each public school grading period.

HSLDA Staff Attorney Thomas Schmidt contacted the Mason County school district and informed officials that homeschool parents were not legally required to provide any of the documentation that was requested in their letter.

While parents in Kentucky must keep attendance and scholarship records when they teach their children at home, they are not required to submit these records on a regular basis to the local DPP. Instead, under the “Best Practice Document,” a parent should only be required to submit this information if they fail to submit their notice of intent within two weeks from the beginning of the school year or if there is some evidence that the family is not conducting a bona fide homeschool program.

The Best Practices Document was developed between the Christian Home Educators of Kentucky (CHEK) and the Kentucky Directors of Pupil Personnel (KDPP), with some input from other state homeschool groups, to address several legal issues and the concerns of homeschooling community at large. HSLDA was very involved in providing legal advice and assistance in the drafting stage of this document.

Unfortunately, it has become a common tactic in Kentucky by overzealous school districts to harass homeschool families in this manner. Occasionally however, these requests are simply based on a misunderstanding of the appropriate policy in Kentucky. Our advice to our member families is that they contact us when they receive a similar request from their local school district demanding their attendance and scholarship reports.