February 21, 2002

Wellston Ohio Schools Continue To Push the Limits of State Law

The Wellston City School District in Ohio continues to disregard the home school regulations of the Ohio Administrative Code. After releasing a new home school policy recently that violates the state regulations in several ways, the district received numerous contacts from concerned home schoolers. Realizing its policy had suddenly become controversial, the district quickly stated that it was not yet official.

In January of this year, Home School Legal Defense staff attorney Scott Somerville spoke with the district lawyer Diane Bray to remind her that Ohio law prohibits school districts from creating new regulations for home schoolers. Refusing to see the "big picture," Ms. Bray wanted HSLDA to walk her through the policy point by point, specifying which aspects contravene state law. Mr. Somerville pointed her to the "purpose clause" of the Ohio regulations, which explains why school districts cannot add new requirements.

In early February, Ms. Bray wrote a letter to HSLDA, asserting again the need for "specific" or "particular" concerns, and failing to address any of the concerns we had already raised. On February 15, after another letter and phone call from HSLDA, the school attorney wrote again to say that the district "is in the process of considering the concerns that you have raised." This letter suggests that the board might reconsider the policy at its March meeting.

We hope the board revises its policy before any home schooler suffers as a result of the district's unlawful acts. Unless Wellston City School District revises their policy, they may expect HSLDA to challenge it as excessive regulation in an area preempted by state law.