September 27, 2001

Massachusetts Families Battle School Districts

Home School Legal Defense Association recently defended the rights of home school parents in three Massachusetts school districts from excessive intervention.

Littleton Public Schools asked a member family to fill out a Home Education Proposal, although the family had already submitted a detailed plan to the district and was approved to home school. The "proposal" form sought extensive information not required under state law, including the family's rationale for home education, the number of persons residing at the home education site, schools previously attended, a statement of the children's willingness to home school, immunization information, and the children's social activities.

The Manchester Essex Regional School District directed an HSLDA member family to report to two different principals several times during the school year, and said that the children must take the state Massachusetts Comprehensive Assessment System (MCAS) tests in 4th, 8th, and 10th grades. There is nothing in Massachusetts law that suggests home school students must take the MCAS tests or that such burdensome meetings are required.

Similarly, district officials told a home schooling family in the Fall River area that a meeting with the superintendent was mandatory prior to home schooling. No guidelines were stated concerning the length, agenda or purpose of the meeting, so the family had no inkling whether the district was friendly or hostile to their plan to home school.

In each case, HSLDA contacted the school districts to protect our member families' right to home school without being harassed by public school officials.