Independent Homeschool Hearing

Q. I’m not in agreement with a decision my district superintendent has made regarding my homeschooling. Is there anything I can do?

A. If you have complied with the home instruction law as described in §22.1-254.1, and you have exhausted every means of appealing to the superintendent in a reasonable manner; you may appeal his decision to an independent hearing officer.  You must make the appeal within 30 days.

To begin the process, inform your superintendent in writing that you disagree with his decision, and you request that he begin the appeal process with an independent hearing officer. A hearing officer will be assigned to the case from a list maintained by the Executive Secretary of the Virginia Supreme Court. You can represent yourself, but the appeal process is less intimidating if you retain experienced legal counsel who is familiar with Virginia homeschool laws. You can be sure the superintendent will be represented by legal counsel.

A hearing officer is not a judge. He only works with cases involving administrative agencies. The procedure is less formal than a court case. The hearing usually takes place in person or through Skype. The hearing officer often takes more time than a judge to hear testimony and review both sides of the matter. A decision is not usually made on the day of the hearing, but his decision is sent in writing to both parties within 10 days.

Based on his findings, the hearing officer decides who pays for the expenses related to the hearing.

An independent hearing is a serious matter. It should only be pursued when all other attempts to resolve a serious disagreement have been exhausted. Only homeschoolers who have complied with §22.1-254.1, the homeschool statute and its requirements, may request a hearing.

You may contact the HEAV office at 804-278-9200 to discuss your compliance with the law. HEAV can also suggest legal counsel that may be helpful.

Best regards,

Yvonne Bunn
HEAV Director of Homeschool Support and Government Affairs

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