PARIS, Ky. – Homeschooling families in one Kentucky school district were surprised to discover recently that school officials were conducting unannounced visits to homes – and if no one was there, leaving door hangers.
The February visits within the Paris Independent School District apparently violate a state-wide agreement, which is designed to protect a family’s constitutional right to privacy, according to the Home School Legal Defense Association, which reported on the incident.
“I got the impression that district staff could become more difficult if I didn’t cooperate in answering their questions or bring out my child to meet them,” one parent, Jenny Griffith, reported. “I tried to handle the situation as civilly as possible, without adding any threat to them.”
Griffith said the two officials who visited her home said the district has plans to visit every homeschool family three times a year.
“As part of their plan to help families, the school officials asked about attendance records and curriculum,” HSLDA attorney T.J. Schmidt wrote at the organization’s website. “Before leaving, one official asked Jenny about meeting her child.”
Families who were not at home got a doorhanger, reading, “Home school check. Please give us a call.” It was signed by the principal.
But the visits go against Kentucky state law, Schmidt said.
“Under Kentucky law, a homeschool program operates as a private school,” he wrote. “While private schools are required to keep attendance and scholarship records (i.e. report cards) in the same manner as the local public school, homeschooling parents do not need to open their homes and present these documents simply because a school official comes knocking.”
An agreement was reached more than 20 years ago between the homeschool organizations and the state that “unless school officials receive some report or have some evidence that the parents are not educating their children, no further inquiry should be made,’ Schmidt added.
HSLDA has contacted the school district about the law.
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