Picking on homeschoolers

It appears that Wicomico County is trying to bully those who choose to homeschool their children into conforming with how they think it should be done.

Homeschooling parents received a letter from the county school board asking for information they weren’t legally entitled to, according to Scott Woodruff, Senior Counsel of the Home School Legal Defense Association. “(Y)our letter is out of line with state policy in a number of respects,” wrote Woodruff.

In particular, objections were raised about requests for contact information, including mailing address, cell and home phone numbers, and e-mail address. There’s noting in state law which requires this.

The letter also attracted the attention of the Maryland Liberty PAC, which restated that:

The Wicomico County Board of Education recently sent a letter to area homeschool families that misquoted and misapplied the Maryland homeschool regulations and made improper demands.

Yet, while at least one parent objected to the requests made by the Wicomico County Board of Education, how many unthinkingly returned the form? And now that Lori Batts, the Supervisor for Counseling for Wicomico County Public Schools, has this information, what are the chances the families may come under additional scrutiny? Even the slightest hint of abuse – or behavior which could be interpreted as such – may be used as an excuse for authorities to intervene, especially as they already know the child is receiving an unapproved course of education. I’m sure that’s the concern of the Maryland Liberty PAC and those who brought this up – as one observer noted:

It is…an example of the kind of thing we might expect from a school board that is Governor-appointed and therefore not responsive to the people of Wicomico County whom they are charged to represent.  With little to fear from voters, this kind of overreach should not come as a surprise.  The big question, of course, is what we can do to stop it.

So let me remind you that the only people standing between you and an elected school board in Wicomico County are County Executive Rick Pollitt and Delegates Rudy Cane and Norm Conway. The County Council has twice requested the state take the steps necessary to bring the issue before voters and they have been rebuffed twice because Pollitt wasn’t on board. So don’t blame the County Council.

This can be rectified in 2014.