May 8, 2001

Pennsylvania: A Barrage of School District Harassment

Several school districts in Pennsylvania, which has one of the most restrictive home school laws in the country, have recently begun barraging home schoolers with numerous letters misstating the law and requesting unauthorized information. HSLDA has responded to each district, explaining these errors in interpretation and pointing to what the law really says.

The Bangor Area School District required that parents submit the portfolio to a school official other than the superintendent required by law. Bangor also erroneously stated that it was the district's responsibility to determine whether the parents had followed the law, and that parents had to use the affidavit form provided by the school district.

In the Wyalusing Area School District, the school board recently revised its home education policy. Unfortunately, there were numerous inaccuracies in the new policy, including a statement that the district "authorizes" home schooling and a "reservation of right" to examine all textbooks and curriculum materials for home schoolers. Neither of these is allowed by state law.

The Perkiomen Valley School District also sent out a letter to all home schooling parents. While Pennsylvania law requires home schoolers to submit their portfolio of records and materials at the end of the school year (interpreted by HSLDA and the Pennsylvania Department of Education to be June 30), Perkiomen Valley moved the date forward to between June 4 and 14. In addition, the district implied that parents should attend the review, which is not required by law.

HSLDA is currently corresponding with the Central York School District, which is illegally trying to apply the home school law to a mother who is teaching her child under the certified tutor option. Under this option, the tutor needs only file a copy of her certificate and a criminal history check. Central York is requiring substantially more information than is authorized by the certified tutor option.