The Virginia school district has finally decided to “scrap a policy that allowed it to interrogate Christian homeschool teenagers and their parents about their religious beliefs,” explains Fox News.
In 2013, updated policy rules in Virginia required Christian homeschool parents to reapply for a religious exemption to public education once a child turned 14-years-old.
Last November, Douglas Pruiett, father of seven children, received a letter from Goochland County Public Schools about the new updated procedures.
The letter stated that “Each application must be completed along with a statement of your bona fide religious beliefs and a statement from your child age 14 or older stating his/her bona fide religious beliefs.”
The Pruiett family has three children that were being impacted by this new policy which he compared to “interrogation.”
“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. The parent of a student younger than age 14 may choose to have his or her child attend the meeting,” the policy reads. “The purpose of the meeting is for the School Board to determine whether the request for exemption is based upon a conscientious opposition to attendance at a public school or at a private, denominational, or parochial school due to bona fide religious training or beliefs. Such meeting will be conducted in a closed meeting of the School Board.”
“The policy provided the school board the right to call the child before them (and I call it interrogation) to defend those beliefs so they could determine whether indeed the child and the parents still held bona fide religious beliefs to qualify for the exemption,” Pruiett told Fox News.
Pruiett also contacted the school superintendent, who explained that the goal of the policy was to allow the board to assess whether a homeschooled child truly wants to be homeschooled and give him an opportunity to attend public school if he/she desires.
Scott Woodruff of the Home School Legal Defense Association (HSLDA) weighed in on the issue saying that the Goochland district policy is “unacceptable because it violates Virginia state law.”
On January 13th, hundreds of parents attended the Goochland School Board meeting to express their support for the homeschool families in the community.
The school board listened to the people and repealed the policy, as well as suspending any religious exemption letters that were sent to other families.
“The board acted honorably to repeal this thing,” Pruiett told Fox News.