HEAV is working to protect the rights of religiously exempt homeschoolers in Warren County. HEAV’s director of legislative affairs, Yvonne Bunn, called the Warren County School Board office as soon as HEAV reviewed their new and restrictive religious-exemption policy.
In a conversation with Assistant Superintendent Dr. Louis Justis, who is the Warren County homeschool liaison, Yvonne learned the school board did not intend to restrict the rights of religiously exempt parents. Dr. Justis stated Warren County has never refused to acknowledge the religious beliefs of any family. However, with retirement in the near future and the election of new school board members, officials wanted to develop guidelines for new board members who may be unfamiliar with religious exemption. Although their motive was to protect the rights of religiously exempt homeschoolers, their policy went beyond the requirements of the law.
During the discussion, Dr. Justis asked HEAV to draft a policy that complies with the religious exemption statute and is acceptable to homeschoolers. He would like to submit the proposed policy to the school board for their review.
School boards have a duty to recognize parents’ bona fide religious convictions against attendance at school. A carefully written policy would guide the Warren County School Board in responding within the parameters of the law.
The Warren County School Board has since suspended the religious exemption regulation pending public input. HEAV is working with other organizations and Warren County homeschoolers to resolve this situation as quickly and quietly as possible.