à Starting in the 2003-2004 school year, some folks in PA began considering whether
the then-recently-enacted Religious
Freedom Protection Act (RFPA) can apply in some way, for some people, to some
or all of the requirements of the PA home education law.
à Two of the first RFPA cases
involve the Newborn family (Franklin Regional school district), who had been
following the Pennsylvania Home Education Law (Act
169 of 1988), and
the Hankin family (Bristol Township SD), who had been homeschooling underground.
à The text of the Newborn
family’s case is here,
and the other cases are reported to be similar. Note that these cases are NOT about the amount of
à Two newer cases involve the
Prevish family in the Norwin SD, and the Combs family in Homer-Center SD
(Indiana County). (Norwin SD had
a run-in with a home educating family last year – details, spun two different
ways, are here, from PHEA,
and here, from
à According to HSLDA, the cases are:
Hankin v. Bristol Township School District, Filed April 19, 2004
Combs v. Homer-Center School District, Filed September 23, 2004
Prevish v. Norwin School District, Filed September 27, 2004
Newborn v. Franklin Regional School District, Filed February 5, 2005
Nelson v. Titusville Area School District, Filed February 28, 2005
Weber v. Dubois Area School District, Filed March 24, 2004
does not currently have a formal religious exemption option specifically
designed for homeschoolers, nor do they have an “umbrella school” option,
where a homeschooling family could report to a private school rather than
their local school district.
Those who privately educate their children at home must submit
to the oversight of the local school district, generally through the Home Education Law or the
Private Tutor law.
vast majority of families who teach their children at home in PA do so under The Pennsylvania
Home Education Law, Act 169 of 1988, commonly referred to as “the
homeschooling law”. There are
also several alternatives to
the Home Ed. Law.
à The PA Home Education Law requires
that families submit an affidavit
and an outline of educational
objectives at the beginning of each year. The children must meet the immunization
& medical/dental requirements .
Parents must keep a log of reading
materials, and a portfolio of their child’s work. They must do a certain number of required
days/hours and cover the required
subjects. In 3rd, 5th,
and 8th grades standardized
testing is required. At the end of the year the child must
have an evaluation. The log, portfolio, test scores, and
evaluator’s report must be submitted to the school district for review at the
end of the school year.
à The 501
school districts vary widely in their standards for the required home
education paperwork. Some expect
detailed daily information with extensive samples of work (3"-4” binders
are not uncommon), while others require only two sheets of paper - the
evaluator’s report and the test scores.
write “homeschooling” as one word, to show that it is a process quite
different than “school at home”.
“Homeschooling” is a broad term that includes many forms of home-based
education. When referring to the
PA RFPA cases, the proper, more narrow term would be “home educating” (“home
educators”, etc.), since the families involved are challenging the PA Home
There’s lots more homeschooling info on my
site! Check out my Homeschooling Main Page.
Homeschoolers have a lot of choices available
to them. Please take the
information you find useful from these pages and ignore the rest.
I am not a lawyer, and none of my web
pages are intended as legal advice.
If you have questions abouthow the home education law applied to your
situation, please get advice from a lawyer and/or the PDE.
This Web Page by Pauline Harding for Art
Please do not copy the information on this page without permission.
The Religious Freedom Protection Act (RFPA) is a relatively new law, and it remains to be seen whether it will
become a viable option for homeschoolers in PA.
decided to attempt to use the RFPA for
the 2003-2004 school year. Below
are some links to articles about the RFPA cases, with a few comments. (Unfortunately, while there are sensible arguments
on both sides of these cases, some of these reporters, especially the
editorial writers, have not done their homework, and do not understand either
the cases or the home ed law.
It’s also becoming clear that districts vary considerably in what
records they expect home educating parents to submit.)
A new suit was filed in state court in August of 2009.
According to this article in the Pittsburgh Tribune-Review, Dr. Mark Newborn and his wife, Maryalice, want a local judge to find that the state lacks jurisdiction to require parents who home-school their children to submit documentation about their curriculum and to place limits on religious education. The Newborns contend government authorities such as school districts should not be permitted to restrict and closely monitor what is taught in the home. "The home education statute requires that Dr. and Mrs. Newborn cede jurisdiction to the school district and become excessively entangled with this government agency relative to their religious education in that the home education statute gives the superintendent authority, jurisdiction and discretion to approve the appropriateness of the religious education Dr. and Mrs. Newborn provide their children," according to the lawsuit. See also this commentary.
HSLDA filed an appeal on the federal constitutional questions to the Supreme Court on 11/29/2008; the court declined to hear the case on 1/26/2009. See here.
According to HSLDA (Aug 21, 2008), "The United States Court of Appeals for the Third Circuit ... ruled
that Pennsylvania's homeschooling law, which is among the most
burdensome in the country, does not violate the Free Exercise Clause
of the United States Constitution. The court declined to address
related claims brought under Pennsylvania's Religious Freedom
Protection Act, sending them back to state court for resolution." A summary of the case, Combs v. Homer Center School District, is here, the full opinion is here.
According to HSLDA, (September 14, 2006), "On December 8, 2005, the Court ruled that Act 169 does not impose a "substantial burden" on the free exercise of religion. To bring the district court case to a close in a manner that would be fit for appellate review, the district court judge ordered a second round of motions in his court. He gave express permission to HSLDA to point out to him in our round-two briefing how his round-one opinion regarding "substantial burden" went astray. The court again ruled against HSLDA, granting summary judgment to the school districts on May 25, 2006. ... HSLDA has appealed the decision to the Third Circuit Court of Appeals on June 16, 2006.
Summer, 2006: Judge Upholds PA Home Education Law: HSLDA Suit Flops in Federal Court
Includes some text from the ruling.
Early October, 2004:
Editorials and Articles
Prosecutions threaten parents' rights
An interesting summary of the kind of cases HSLDA handles, now that
homeschooling is legal in every state.
Pennsylvania, several families who are home-schooling for religious reasons
have had truancy charges filed for failing to comply with the Pennsylvania
home-school law. These families
are claiming that the law in Pennsylvania burdens their practice of religion.
The Religious Freedom Protection
Act (RFPA), which was passed into law in the state in 2002, provides that if
a law interferes with an individual's exercise of religion, the burden shifts
to the state of Pennsylvania to demonstrate that the law is of the highest
importance to advance a legitimate government interest and is the least
restrictive means of achieving that government interest. The HSLDA has filed a lawsuit on
behalf of several families being prosecuted for truancy or facing truancy
charges… It is our hope that
these cases can be tried quickly and that there will be a speedy decision
establishing the freedom to home-school pursuant to the RFPA.”
è 10/14/04, Life lessons
/ Home schoolers shouldn't upset state law
”These cases may
turn on how restrictive Pennsylvania's rules on home schooling really are.
Critics claim that they are the most restrictive in the nation, but perhaps
that is because other states are foolishly negligent.”
Home-school policies debated
This article is a bit different than others I’ve seen –
the author surveyed quite a few superintendents (SD’s Monessen, Ringgold, Charleroi,
Frazier) on the issue. A home
educating mom of 10 also gives her opinion. In general, everyone seems unaware of or puzzled by the
”…Dr. Cynthia Chelen, the district's coordinator of curriculum
and instruction who tracks Monessen's home school students, said school
officials have not heard complaints about how the students are
monitored. Chelen said 12
home-schooled students living in the area report to Monessen school officials
twice a year and take an annual standardized test as a means of assessment. “
I’m hoping that this quote is not accurate, as standardized testing
is only required in grades 3, 5, and 8.
I’m also interested in the idea that most of these superintendents are
unaware of any homeschoolers in their districts who have concerns about the
law. I wonder if these are
“easy” districts in which to homeschool, or if the homeschoolers have simply
not brought any concerns to the attention of the district. Monessen is in the same county as
Norwin (Westmoreland) and has only a handful of home educated students.
10/11/04, Home school
parents sue state over religious freedom
This is one of the better articles I’ve seen. It quotes a number of different people.
” One of
the home schooling requirements is that parents submit an annual affidavit to
their local school district's superintendent outlining their educational
goals for their children, and then turn in a log at the end of the year that
shows what subjects were taught on what days, what work was done and the time
spent on it, as well as an evaluation from a neutral, certified teacher who
reviews the work and interviews the child.
This is part of the problem with PA’s home education law. Some districts interpret the
requirement for a “log, made contemporaneously with the instruction, which
designates by title the reading materials used” to mean this kind of
detailed daily record. Others
are happy with much less, such as a log of
books the child has used. Others, like Pittsburgh, require even less – just the
evaluator’s report and the test scores (required only in 3rd, 5th,
and 8th grades).
The Combs, believing the Bible gives them the responsibility for educating
their children, decided this year not to submit those reports. As a result, Homer-Center School
Superintendent Joseph Marcoline has filed truancy charges against them. But Sarah Pearce, acting director of
the state Education Department's school services office, said it's the
department's job to ensure parents are meeting minimum educational
There have been scattered cases of superintendents rejecting the reports
submitted by home-schooling parents, but Marcoline has never ultimately
rejected such reports.”
See the state statistics on this here.
“James Mason, an attorney with the Home School Legal Defense Association,
said Pennsylvania's home-schooling requirements are the most restrictive in the
nation, because they call for a triple review at the end of the year,
including the parents' log, the independent evaluation, and standardized
tests in third, fifth and eighth grades. "It's not the burden of the paperwork so much,"
Mason said. "It's the
authority they believe the Bible gives to them to provide and decide what
appropriate education is."…”
”Marcoline, Homer-Center superintendent for the last 19 years, said the state
requirements are "very simple," and it takes only a few minutes to
fill out the daily log and summary of subjects taught. Those records are necessary to ensure
children are receiving a proper education, he said.”
I beg to differ. Imagine
having to stop after every time you read your child a bedtime story so you
can record the title of the book, and submitting this list annually to the
government. Now imagine having
to do this throughout the day, whenever your child does something
“educational”. Now add several
children. We should be clear
that requiring a detailed daily log takes a significant amount of a busy
homeschooling mom’s precious time.
Home-schoolers chafe at state law – OK, I just have to mention this, and
here’s as good a place as any.
It drives me crazy that newspapers continue to use the hyphenated term
themselves do not use the hyphen – who better to define the correct
terminology? Given the subject
of these articles, it would actually be more accurate to use the term “home
educators”, as there are several legal ways to homeschool in Pennsylvania,
and these cases specifically apply to what the law calls “Home Education
Programs”. (See Alternatives
to the Home Ed. Law page for details on other homeschooling
options in PA.)
Early October, 2004:
A series of Editorials and Articles
Parents Challenge Home-School Rules
A long article giving the details of the Combs suit in Homer Center School
District. "It's not the paperwork ...
the law puts the government in charge of home education and that usurps
Having to Prove Innocence
A letter to the editor from a homeschooling dad, in response to the article
above. ”In this
article Dr. Joseph Marcoline, superintendent of Homer-Center, is
requirements that a parent must comply with are very minimal." We would disagree.”
while peripheral to the RFPA cases (which are NOT about the volume of
homeschooling requirements), is well argued. His argument about the redundancy inherent in the PA home
education law is particularly clear.
“It is particularly noteworthy, in light of other recent articles in the
Gazette, that home-schoolers must seek annual approval of their children's
education from a district which, based on state assessment tests, has been
shown to not be giving its own students an appropriate education.”
è 10/13/04 Should
Follow the rules: Jock and Trish Lenzi speak out against HSLDA´s Religious
A letter to the editor from a Christian homeschooling family in response to
the letter above, criticizing the RFPA suits.
Whose Rules to Follow
A letter to the editor from the Combs family, in response to the letter
above, further clarifying their beliefs.
Two New Cases! à Late September, 2004
Homeschooling law challenged
Two new families have filed RFPA cases.
”…Thomas and Timari Prevish
filed suit against the Norwin School District, and Darrell and Kathleen Combs
filed suit against Homer-Center School District in Indiana County
yesterday. Both sets of parents
are represented by Titusville attorney Richard Winkler, who could not be reached
for comment. Both complaints
state that Pennsylvania's Religious Freedom Protection Act nullifies
requirements in the state's school code that force home-schoolers (sic) to
present proof of curriculum and course work done. The couple said Norwin School District Superintendent
Richard Watson elected to conduct a compulsory review of their education plan
when they refused to meet with him to lay out their education plan for their
children. The Combses sued after
Superintendent Joseph F. Marcoline didn't initiate a hearing, but charged
them with truancy instead. Their
suit states Marcoline improperly skipped the step of a hearing….
Early September 2004 Articles:
è 9/1/04, Agape
Press: Christian Family Fights
to Home School Without State Oversight – This brief article clearly
articulates the Newborn family’s religious objections to complying with the
law. (Finally!) “MaryAlice Newborn … says she
does not object to the state's burdensome paperwork, but rather to the
necessity of seeking the public school superintendent's final approval over
her children's education. "It's that approval that we feel
is unscriptural," Newborn says.
"It's clear to us that God has called us to home school. It's clear to us that Christ is the
head of all men and the father is the head of the family, and that [we are
not to] give what is holy to the unholy. And yet, every year, we turn over our religious education
to the secular school district for their approval." … she says they … object to the
government having oversight in the matter of her children's godly education,
which she and her husband view as their biblically-mandated responsibility as
Christian parents.” (This article
discusses the Hankin family’s objections, and this
details the Newborns’ constitutional concerns.)
More Late August 2004 Articles and Editorials:
Here are two well-researched
articles on the RFPA cases – a breath of fresh air after last week’s rash of
è 8/29/04: State sets the rules
(phillyBurbs.com) – This is one of the best articles on the RFPA cases so
far, in that the author seems to have done her homework and taken care to get
the facts right.
One point - Tom Stubits, of the PDE’s school services division, is quoted as
saying “the bottom line is that somewhere down the line if you want to put
them back in school, we need to know where they are at.” This is simply not the purpose of the
required paperwork. (You may
remember seeing this argument before in this article) Stubits perhaps doesn’t realize that
even bricks-and-mortar schools do not all teach the same things in the same
grade. There are quite dramatic
differences – for example, some schools teach some ancient history in the
elementary years, and some do not teach it at all until middle school. In addition, not every student learns
at the same pace. Ideally, any
student who transfers from another school (including homeschool) should be evaluated
for appropriate placement. In
reality, most transfer students are automatically placed in the usual grade
for their age, unless there are strong apparent reasons not to do so. I’m not sure that a home education
portfolio would be particularly helpful for placement purposes, as it is
generally not designed as a transcript or report card. High school may be somewhat of an
exception to all of this, in that credits may have to be transferred, but in
that case it is, IMHO, clearly the responsibility of the previously
home-educated student to produce appropriate records to show that they have
earned transferable credits.
è Christian Science
Monitor 8/31/2004: Does the
state have a right to monitor?
Another well-researched article, this one with a nice pic of the Newborn Family. This article more clearly explains
the Hankin and Newborn families’ religious objections to the home education
law’s requirements. Note that
each family is slightly different in their beliefs, as one would expect. Worth a read.
-- A quiet revolution (phillyBurbs.com) – A nice, positive, “back to
school” piece on homeschooling.
No mention of the RFPA cases.
Mid August 2004 EDITORIALS:
8/17/04: Why Hold Homeschoolers
To a Higher Standard?
A “counterpoint” response to the article below. The first “pro-RFPA-cases” article I’ve seen.
Not a particularly imaginative headline, is it? This article baffles me. The author doesn’t understand the issues involved in the
RFA suits, has clearly read only news stories and used no primary sources,
and he completely waffles on his opinions. Do reporters have to do any research at all, or just spout
uninformed opinions and get a paycheck?
During much of that period,
the state Department of Education has scrambled to develop regulations to
assure that homeschooled kids are getting an education at least on par with
standards for the public and private schools.”
This sentence sounds really neat, but I’m not sure it’s accurate. The Home
Education Law, while somewhat unclear in places, pretty much lays out the
rules for home education programs in PA. As far as I know, there’s been little if any scrambling by
the PDE. And just to be clear,
home educators do NOT need to meet “standards for the public and private
schools”. OK, let’s move
“These regulations and the oversight they require have passed on to
homeschooling families a flurry of paper work dealing with such matters as
attendance, curriculum, materials, charting -- and testing, testing,
testing.” OK, lets take that
one apart. Attendance is a
no-brainer in a homeschool, but for those who can’t think that far outside
the box, one can use a simple
one-page attendance calendar to show 180 days of “school”.
Curriculum and materials are none of the state’s business, except that
“reading materials” must be logged.
What’s all this “charting” stuff? Oh, that’s from Abigail Eagleson. Um, sometimes 13-year-olds, however
nice, aren’t accurate sources when it comes to the law. Read The Law for yourself – no charting of anything is required. Now – “testing, testing, testing”. That’s actually pretty accurate. Home educated students in PA must
take a standardized test exactly three times during their K-12 years.
say they have had enough of it.
The Home School Legal Defense Association is exploring a challenge to
the state's homeschooling records-keeping regulations by using Pennsylvania's
religious freedom act, on grounds that many homeschoolers tend to be
religious and have many children.”
OK, this is the worst warping of the case that I’ve seen. The Newborn suit is NOT about the
volume of paperwork, and is certainly NOT based on the idea that
homeschoolers have many children.
This idea probably came from a quote from HSLDA in this
article. Honestly, it’s not
that hard to find the primary sources for this case – Here’s The Law, here’s the
case. See? Now you’ve read more than the reporter.
”It's a stretch to prove any religious discrimination from Pennsylvania's
homeschooling laws. Paper work
is always an aggravation -- even the organized schools will be quick to
Again – this case is NOT about the volume of paperwork, and if the
reporter had done his homework, he’d have known that.
”…But homeschooling, like organized public and private schooling, is not
perfect and it is up to the Department of Education to make sure that
homeschooled students are equipped for the challenges of college or career
that follow. To ignore this
responsibility or to permit a parallel system "for homeschoolers
only" would be unfair to students and their families and an absolute
nightmare for college admissions.”
Huh? What do college
admissions have to do with it?
What “parallel system”?
Folks, it just gets worst from there.
Mid August 2004 EDITORIALS:
è Pocono Record
8/11/04: Homeschoolers need to
report progress, too
Worth reading. ”School
officials who review the required reports don’t really give a hoot whether the
home-schooled child’s education has a religious bent. What they want to see is evidence
that the child is receiving basic instruction in reading, math, social
studies and the like. They know
how essential a basic education is to a child’s future success.”
Record Online, 8/15/04: School
districts, homeschoolers still have a duty to each other – Another
editorial critical of the RFPA cases, written by someone (a former homeschool
dad) who apparently hasn’t read them.
The unnamed author argues that reporting is important, because when a
homeschooled child enrolls in school, “Educators need to have some clue about what these
students learned in order to ensure a successful integration.” He
completely misunderstands the idea that the RFPA
cases are NOT objecting to keeping
: The Dark Side of Home Schooling – Not about the RFPA cases, but a
nowadays-rare negative article about homeschooling. “Judith Wagner, a professor of child development and
education at Whittier College, said that parents considering home schooling
their children should ask themselves, "What am I doing by making my
child so different from all the other kids in the neighborhood?" Um, two of the three little girls
on my street are homeschooled.
By Judith’s logic, that means homeschooling is the right choice for
all three of them. Huh? Didn’t Judith’s mom ever tell her
that just because everybody else is doing something doesn’t mean you should
too? Shouldn’t parents make
educational choices based on their child’s needs and their family’s values
and resources, not on what everyone else is doing?
8/9/04: Abigail Eagleson, 13:
keeping portfolio was drudgery. Kimber Stevenson, 18: It was easy and fun.
– Yet another article that grossly overstates the requirements of the PA home
ed law. The law requires “a
log, made contemporaneously with the instruction, which designates by title
the reading materials used”.
Most people I know keep a log of
books their child has read and a simple
one-page calendar of “school days”.
Even if you use the PDE’s & HSLDA’s more stringent interpretation
of the log, a simple check-off chart like this
è Aug 6, 2004 –HSLDA´s update on the
Newborn RFPA case. Basically
the judge decided to hear the case.
(Note that, contrary to this article, homeschool families in PA do NOT
need to provide “detailed curriculum” -- a simple one-page statement of objectives is sufficient; no mention of specific curriculum is needed -- nor do
they need to “submit to regular testing” -- children need only be tested 3
times during the K-12 years.)
Early August 2004 EDITORIALS:
è Here are a few editorials/letters critical of the RFPA
cases. So far, I have not seen
any in favor of the cases.
Please email me if you find
Inquirer | 08/05/2004 | A sin to dismiss home-school law – an editorial
critical of the Hankin’s RFPA case.
Inquirer | 08/03/2004 | Letters | Children belong to God, not to parents or
state – a letter to the editor critical of the Newborn RFPA case.
- Editorial: Religion Beside
Point of Lawsuit – This editorial, critical of the RFPA cases, is from
The Sentinel in Carlisle. Here
are a few excerpts.
“…It sounds to us
like these families are confusing freedom with responsibility. In neither case is their right to
teach their own children at issue.
Their complaint is with a law passed especially to give legal status
to families who homeschool. Before
that law, homeschooling families were subject to investigation by child
welfare agencies who were unfamiliar with or unsympathetic to the families'
chosen way of life. In 1988 the
General Assembly passed the Homeschooling Act, which sets up the reporting
requirements these families now object to, but the law also prevents local
authorities from interfering in a couple's decision to teach their children
at home. … Maryalice Newborn, one of the litigants, told the AP, "The
parents are the stewards over the child, not the state." In a perfect world, that would be the
ultimate argument. But in a
world where parents sometimes neglect their responsibilities, it falls to the
state to clean up the mess left behind by those who don't take their duties
as seriously as the Newborns and the Hankins….”
Late July/Early August 2004 Articles:
As the Newborn case goes to court (starting 7/28/04),
there are quite a few news stories about the case. (It should be noted that many of these stories include
inaccurate information about PA’s homeschooling requirements.)
test home-school laws - PittsburghLIVE.com
à Focus on the
Family: Experts Watch Home
School Legal Challenge
à ABCNEWS.com : Pa.
Home Schooling Oversight Challenged
Here are a few more versions of essentially the same stories:
à Religious freedom law used to challenge home schooling oversight,
à Herald.com | 08/03/2004 | Religious parents
sue over home-school law,
à Yahoo! News - Pa. Home Schooling Oversight
à AP Wire | 08/02/2004 | Pa. Home Schooling
à Observer-Reporter: Religious freedom act
used to fight home-schooling regulations,
à WCCO: Families cite religious freedom law to
challenge Pennsylvania’s home schooling oversight
Inquirer | 07/28/2004 | A Bucks County couple have sued a school district,
challenging rules to monitor their children's education. – This is
another, more detailed article focusing primarily on the underground Hankin
family. It’s well worth
reading the entire article. Here
are some excerpts:
“…Now, in a test case watched by homeschoolers nationwide,
the Hankins have sued the Bristol Township School District, saying the
government has no right to monitor their children's "holy and sacred
education," and that complying with the state's home school law would be
a sin. They base their case on
the Pennsylvania Religious Freedom Protection Act, which allows a person to
challenge any state or local law if it "substantially burdens" that
person's religious beliefs.
Since a federal version of the law was declared unconstitutional in
1997 by the U.S. Supreme Court, a range of religious organizations
successfully lobbied for a dozen state versions. …When the act passed in Pennsylvania in November 2002,
supporters applauded lawmakers for "standing up for freedom of
religion." Critics called
it "a dangerous law" that could have unintended results. The Hankins are among the first to
put the law to the test. … Filed in April, their case is the
second of its kind to go to court, and part of a larger movement of
homeschoolers seeking religious exemption from the state's home-education
statute. … As many as 50 families of
homeschoolers have written to local school districts requesting religious
exemption, the Home School Legal Defense Association reports. … "We've been given this opportunity with RFPA to win
some of our freedoms back, and I'm going to take advantage of it," said
Sue Rothermel, a homeschooling mother of six in York County. Homeschoolers such as Rothermel argue
that God entrusts parents to educate children, and the government has no right
to interfere. … "It comes down to, who owns the
child - the parents or the state?" said Maryalice Newborn, a plaintiff
in the state's first case, filed in Westmoreland County in February and
scheduled to go to court Friday [7/30/04]. …
Homeschoolers will have to prove that the state's requirements place a
"substantial burden" on their religious freedom. The state must prove that it has a
"compelling interest" to enforce those requirements, and is using
"the least restrictive means" to meet its interest…
suit centers on religious freedom – “More than 50
Pennsylvania families who home school their children for religious reasons
are using a little-known state law to force school districts out of the
educational process...Tom and Babette Hankin of Croydon said these
requirements are a substantial burden on their religious expression...In
February, Mark and Maryalice Newborn filed a similar lawsuit against the
Franklin Regional School District in Westmoreland County court. The Hankins and the Newborns don't
have a chance, according to the ACLU… “
[I don’t think the ACLU representative really understood the
nature of the suit. This article
also has a quote from Norma Young that’s worth reading.]
say district should butt out of home-schooling – “A pastor from the
couple's church attests in the lawsuit that their children's education is
based on religion. The Hankins
wrote letters to the district… protesting the home-schooling requirements,
citing religious freedom. Then
school officials mailed truancy notices to the Hankins. The Hankins claim the state's
Religious Freedom Protection Act and the Constitution's First and 14th
amendments protect them. The
lawsuit alleges that requiring parents to list what educational materials
they use to teach their children is an invasion of privacy.”
News - “A
Bucks County couple who home school their children object to a law that the
local school district approve their teaching plan. Thomas and Babette Hankin filed suit Monday against
the Bristol Township School District, saying its involvement violates their
religious and privacy rights.
The couple has seven children, four of them school-age…School
officials discovered in March that the family was not complying with the
district's home-schooling requirements…”
Some RFA information from HSLDA:
è 7/15/2003 E-lert--Religious
Freedom Act May Provide Relief From Homeschool Law -- Describes HSLDA’s
packet of information for families who are considering using this law. The packet itself, which is very
informative, is here ,
but you must be a member of HSLDA to access it.
-- Chris Klicka Letter on Pennsylvania RFA -- A brief intro to the RFPA.
è 1/16/2003 -- Pennsylvania
Religious Freedom Bill Becomes Law – from HSLDA.
Again – this is a new law, and it remains to be seen
whether it will prove useful to homeschoolers.