January 14, 2002

Pennsylvania District Adds "Requirements" to Law

Once again, one of the most restrictive laws in the country wasn't tight enough for a school district that tried to force a young boy to remain in public school until his home schooling program was "approved."

Mr. and Mrs. W. decided to home educate their son after he had attended public school for several weeks last fall. In accordance with the rigorous requirements of Pennsylvania law, these parents sent the superintendent of the Bethlehem Area School District a notarized affidavit including contact information, immunization and medical data, and an outline of their entire curriculum. They then withdrew their son and began teaching him at home.

However, the district's elementary education director demanded that their son remain enrolled at the local public school until the program had been "approved." The member family then called Home School Legal Defense Association for assistance.

HSLDA wrote the Bethlehem area district immediately, explaining that Pennsylvania law allows parents who have filed an affidavit to begin home schooling without waiting for public school "approval." Mr. and Mrs. W. are now home schooling without any further government interference.

Because Pennsylvania home school law is among the most difficult in the country, HSLDA's staff resolves many legal conflicts every year on behalf of our members there. Even now, we are working with state legislators and home school leaders to make it significantly easier for families to teach their children at home, free from unnecessary government intervention.