By: Isabella Carson
In parts of Virginia parents who wish to home-school their children must go before government officials and have a hearing where they attest to their religious beliefs. The officials then determine if the family is raising the children in the home according to those beliefs. Recently the Goochland School District reversed the policy that children age 14 and older had to attest to their religion as well after numerous complaints from parents. They were trying to home-school their children and the school district seemed more worried about what kind of faith these kids had. At the age of 14 who really knows? Being a teenager is about finding yourself and finding who you are. This could mean that they are raised as a Catholic but as they do more research they find that they would rather be a Christian. At such a young age they are more worried about making friends and getting good grades than they are about their religion.
The Home School Legal Defense Association stepped in and called the policy illegal. They stated that the Virginia religious exemption statue allows parents to home-school their children as they wish without having to determine what their child’s religion is. When the Goochland board asks 14 to 18 year olds about what their faith is and has the power to deny home-schooling because of their answer they violate that policy. An attorney for the school board stated that everything is completely legal.
The school board is going to have another vote next week on the issue. They have told the home-school parents that they will continue to reverse the policy where the children have to provide a statement about their faith. This however comes with a price as their solution is to continue having the hearings where the families have to come forward with their beliefs. These policies cross a very fine line because they are dealing with education and religion which falls under the separation of church and state. The school board states that they just want to make sure that the children who are being taught at home are being taught the same morals that everyone else is getting in the schools.