A Virginia county school board has implemented a policy requiring students age 14 and above who request to be home-schooled to provide the board with a statement of their religious beliefs, and “if necessary,” appear before the board for a hearing.
The policy, approved by the Goochland County School Board in November of 2013, is just now coming under fire and has some parents upset, including Kevin and Katrina Hoeft. They elected to opt their children out of the public system for religious reasons, according to local CBS affiliate WTVR News 6.
“We believe the public schools have really departed from teaching kids about the role of God in life, Kevin Hoeft told the station.“For a 14-year-old to be threatened to have to come before the school board to explain or justify his or her religious beliefs?”
The Home School Legal Defense Association has now entered the picture, claiming the policy violates Virginia State law and “interferes with the right of parents to guide the religious upbringing of their children,” according to its website.
The group published an e-lert, encouraging parents to attend the next county school board meeting, scheduled for Tuesday. The e-lert states:
Most 14-year-olds haven’t yet developed an adult-level faith. They are still receiving religious training from their parents.
The Virginia religious exemption statute gives families a right to an exemption from school attendance based on the religious training the parents are providing to the child—regardless of what the child believes. The Goochland policy violates this right.
School Board Chairperson Michael Payne defends the board’s decision, even though he voted against it.
Watch the news report, via WTVR News 6.