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Government Affairs News Release: Goochland RE Policy Repealed

The Goochland school board held a four-hour meeting on Tuesday, January 13th to accommodate all the people who wanted to speak about a policy that had potential to impact families who homeschool under the religious exemption (RE). 22.1-254   The result of this meeting was a school board decision to repeal a policy change enacted in 2013, known as Policy LBE.  Among other requirements, the policy required a claim of religious exemption to be renewed within 30 days of a child’s 14th birthday via a new application form, and to be accompanied by a letter from the child stating his/her bona fide religious beliefs. More disconcerting to some was that the school board “reserves the right to schedule a meeting with the parent(s) and, in the case of a student age 14 or older, with the student” for the purpose of determining the nature of  the 14-year-old’s religious training or belief.
   
Opposition to this new process was strong. As parents pointed out during the school board meeting, the rights and responsibilities of parents are encoded in Virginia law, and additionally under the Parental Rights Act of 2013  which states: “a parent has a fundamental right to make decisions concerning the upbringing, education, and care of their children.” See http://virginiarules.com/family-relationships for more details on the rights and responsibilities of parents regarding their children.  
    
 Kelly Phong of the VaHomeschoolers Board of Directors attended this lengthy meeting to represent this organization and to help keep you informed of its outcome. If you are currently homeschooling in Goochland under the RE provision, know that a motion for the repeal of the LBE policy passed at this meeting. The board did not receive a unanimous vote needed to waive a second reading in order for the repeal to take immediate effect. Thus a second reading will take place on January 27 at 6:30PM. Pending the second reading, all current administrative actions relating to the policy are suspended. Public comment is welcome at this and all Goochland school board meetings.

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