School Board Resumes Battle Against Faith-Based Homeschooling
by Scott Woodruff • June 14, 2019
This week I attended the meeting of the Legislative and Policy Committee of the Loudoun County School Board. Discussion of the Board’s desire to seek legislation to change or abolish Virginia’s religious exemption to compulsory school attendance was on the agenda. (Read here and here for background.)
During the time for public comment, I reminded the committee that the instigation or motivation for the board’s desire to change the religious exemption rested entirely on an article written by a law professor and four law students in 2012. The article opined that the religious exemption has “deficiencies” and urged that it be changed.
I pointed out that since 2012, not one of the many courts in Virginia has expressed agreement with the opinions in the article (to the best of my knowledge.)
I also reminded them that the article was not a law review article. Law review articles typically carry a certain amount of credibility, clout and respectability in part because they undergo careful editorial scrutiny and input from multiple sources. The 2012 article reflects nothing more than the unexamined opinion of one law professor and four students.
I told the board they were hitching their wagon to a source that no one outside the author himself deems worthy of credibility.
The committee nonetheless continued pursuing efforts to take away rights of faith-based homeschool families. Committee member Eric Hornberger asked me if I would accept a change to the religious exemption statute that required parents to affirm in writing that they accept the responsibility to educate their children.
I declined. I said: “The religious exemption statute has functioned well since 1976. I have seen nothing that would provide evidence that it needs to change.”
The committee meets again on August 6 at 5:30. I expect they will take a vote on where to go on this issue. If you live in Loudoun County, please plan to attend the meeting to show the committee that we still care about religious freedom.