Franklin County parents upset about home school policy

Parents say they fear potential consequences of not following regulations

FRANKLIN COUNTY, Va. – Some Franklin County parents are upset about local requirements for homeschooling their children. Many argued against certain rules during Monday’s school board meeting.

They don’t like the stipulation that they must submit their child’s birth certificate and prove residency. They believe it’s excessive, and many said it's an example of government overreach.

School board members said they can create their own policies as long as they don’t go against state and federal regulations. They said the rules are not in place to discourage anyone from homeschooling their children. They're to make sure kids are in an educational environment.

One worry parents have is that if they don’t follow the rules they could face truancy court.

“In many states parents have been jailed for not complying properly with this type of policy, and children have been placed in foster homes,” said Valarie Angle, who used to homeschool her children in Franklin County. “It’s a little extreme, and we certainly don’t believe that would be the heart of anyone on the Franklin County School Board to see that happen, however, it’s a reality in the United States.”

A local couple and an attorney filed an official complaint. The school board did not take any action on the policy.

Parents also said they have been afraid to be vocal on the issue for fear of facing scrutiny.

Isaiah Knight, with Virginia Families PAC, said another worry the community has is that too much taxpayer money will be spent on lawsuits if there are court proceedings.

There were 548 homeschooled students in Franklin County during the 2017-18 school year. That’s nearly double the 278 students in 2007, according to the Virginia Department of Education.

Virginia regulations require parents to notify the school superintendent of where they live by Aug. 15. They need to submit a description of the curriculum, among other information.

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