A Phoenixville Area School District official recently told a homeschool family that they must file their child’s birth date.
I called the official and confirmed that this was not an isolated event, but rather part of a longstanding policy.
As I questioned him, the official did not rely on the homeschool law, but rather on a different state law that requires districts to collect birth dates and other information while periodically conducting a census.
That state law also says that anyone who prevents an official from conducting the census can be jailed for five days.
Reluctant to Change
According to that state law, it may be true that a school district can question everyone in the district while conducting a lawful census. But a district can’t profile homeschoolers and target them alone for birth date demands. The census statute cannot be used as a fig leaf to cover an unauthorized agenda.
As we discussed the situation, the official said he was relying on previous guidance he had received. Naturally, he did not feel comfortable taking any steps of his own in conflict with that guidance.
In hopes of encouraging the district to change its policy, I sent the official a detailed letter. I’m cautiously optimistic that I’ll be able to report a full resolution of this situation soon.