District’s Mass Records Demand—an Unwarranted Investigation?
by Tj Schmidt • January 28, 2020
Just days after Christmas, homeschooling families in Ohio County, Kentucky, received an official letter that was about as festive as a lump of coal.
The correspondence came from the local public school district’s director of pupil personnel (DPP). In it, he ordered parents to provide detailed records about their homeschools and warned that some families could face further investigation.
The DPP demanded that all homeschool parents drop off (or mail in) the following documents to the Board of Education:
- A copy of their homeschool calendar listing the days and hours of their homeschool program;
- A record of their students’ homeschool attendance for the first half of the school year. For families using an online program, the DPP informed parents that they could print students’ grades and attendance to “fulfill this requirement.”
Question of Legitimacy
The letter ended by saying that the DPP could request scholarship records (report cards) and examples of student work “if there is a genuine concern about the legitimacy of a home school.”
Within hours of receiving this letter, several families reached out to Christian Home Educators of Kentucky (CHEK) and Home School Legal Defense Association through the Kentucky Homeschooling Facebook group. I assured families that we would address this issue right away.
My first letter for 2020 was to the Ohio County Schools DPP. I corrected his misunderstanding of state law by reminding him that homeschool parents are required to keep attendance and scholarship records, but that these records can be requested only if there is some evidence that a child is not being educated.
While parents operating a private homeschool program should keep a calendar for their school schedule, this does not need to follow the same schedule as the local public school and does not need to be provided for the review or approval of local school officials.
I also pointed out that the statewide association of the Kentucky Directors of Pupil Personnel—working together with CHEK—has developed the Best Practice Document to prevent the type of mass records request that parents received on December 27. On behalf of all our members in Ohio County, I requested that the DPP immediately stop this unwarranted investigation of all homeschooling families in the county.
We expect the DPP to comply with our request, and I have asked that he notify all homeschool parents in the county that he is no longer going to ask for this information. Meanwhile, we will continue to monitor this situation closely.