Prince William County Homeschool Victory!
For more than a year and a half, a grassroots group of local homeschoolers in Prince William County, Virginia, worked with the school board to improve the division’s homeschool policy–including allowing partial enrollment and elimination of the onerous “approval before removal” clause that imposed a 3-day waiting period on parents who wish to remove a child from school to begin homeschooling. This policy was problematic because some school division personnel were harassing and threatening parents who chose to remove a child from school to begin homeschooling.
Thanks to that local grassroots action, homeschoolers in PW County are no longer burdened by the onerous “approval before removal” requirement. At the June 22, 2005 school board meeting, board members voted 6-2 in favor of removing the offensive language from its current homeschool regulation. This leaves us with a regulation that is fully in line with state law. The coalition is gratified that after one and a half years of bridge building, we won the majority of the board to enthusiastic support.
One board member, who stated, “We need to get these obstacles out of the way and support our homeschool parents,” even hugged a member of the coalition after the formal session ended. Most other board members’ comments expressed support for the homeschooling community and frustration that the issue has dragged out this long.
Local homeschoolers and members of the PWCS board were taken by surprise by Home School Legal Defense Association’s (HSLDA) sudden and unsolicited involvement in this local issue.
Before the board meeting commenced, grassroots coalition member Amy Wilson submitted proposed language to the board member who has been the group’s primary contact. This language was crafted by the coalition, with agreement from HSLDA attorney Scott Woodruff, as a result of numerous communiques between the two parties.
During its Citizen Time slot, coalition organizer Shay Seaborne expressed appreciation for the board’s willingness to revisit this issue, and for members’ dedication to helping the community. As a token of thanks, Ms. Seaborne presented the board and superintendent with a basket of cookies baked by herself and her children. This brought broad smiles of thanks.
Mr. Woodruff described HSLDA’s aims, purposes, goals, and statistics, stated that he had worked with Amy Wilson, and then noted that he was available if the school board needed any legal advice in this matter.
During discussion of the issue, PWCS board member Don Richardson judiciously proposed simply changing the standing policy to remove the offensive clause, without the addition of any potentially problematic wording. Local homeschoolers and Mr. Woodruff are pleased with the wording of the current regulation as amended at this meeting. However, the board plans to revisit the homeschool regulation over the summer, due to concerns expressed by the board attorney.
Members of the grassroots coalition plan to continue their active involvement in this issue, and look forward to building on the foundation of mutual respect and cooperation that we have established with the school division.
~PW County Grassroots Coalition
VA Homeschoolers Salvage Yahoo! Disaster
The aftermath of these events included Yahoogroups’ vaporization of Virginia’s largest and most active homeschool discussion list, apparently as a result of a bogus Terms of Service complaint against me. Virginia’s homeschoolers rallied and recreated a new e-list with a membership of almost 400 in a few weeks. See VA Homeschoolers Salvage Yahoo! Disaster for details.
Washington Post Article: County Eases Rule For Home Schooling