June 5, 2003

Struggles Continue in Georgetown, Ohio

The Georgetown Exempted Village School District keeps trying to add to Ohio's homeschool laws. In January, 2003, Home School Legal Defense Association wrote to inform the district that their new homeschooling policy, adopted in November of 2002, was illegal and unenforceable. The next month, Georgetown changed its policy. Attorneys for the school district insisted that the district would "reserve the right to reject homeschooling applications which use HSLDA's home education form if the information provided on the form does not provide the District sufficient information as required by Ohio Law and Administrative Regulations."

This month, homeschoolers in Georgetown received a letter from Superintendent Michael H. Smith with a copy of the new policy. The first item on the policy reads, "Before approval for homeschooling is granted, the parent(s) must sign acknowledgement that they have received, read, and fully understand the contents of the following Home Schooling Policy."

Ohio regulations require the superintendent to issue an excuse from attendance to every family that meets the specific requirements of Ohio law. Ohio law does not require any family to sign an acknowledgment that they have read the local policy. If Georgetown had not previously "reserved the right" to reject families that use HSLDA's form, the current policy might be written off as harmless error. As it is, however, homeschoolers in Georgetown must decide whether to stand up for liberty or appease the demands of school officials who know they have exceeded the law.

HSLDA is committed to defending liberty in Ohio. The homeschool battle in Georgetown will not end until the school officials there recognize their limits under law.

HSLDA staff attorney Scott Somerville will be speaking at the Christian Home Educators of Ohio (CHEO) convention June 26th through 28th in Columbus, and will explain what families across the Buckeye State can do to make sure they preserve the blessings of liberty. For more information on the CHEO convention, go to www.cheohome.org.