Homeschooling VS Educational Neglect

In 2018, Nevada Homeschool Network received multiple calls from Clark County homeschool families who were being investigated for educational neglect. These calls were usually initiated by a school.

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Private Schools Ban Homeschool Athletes

Private School Ban Homeschool Athletes 2013 (NHN position paper)

Last Monday, Sept. 9th NHN received word that homeschoolers would no longer be allowed to play sports for a specific private school in Las Vegas. While speaking with the principal, it became clear this was a decision forced upon him. After some research and many phone calls, it appears that the NIAA (Nevada Interscholastic Athletic Association) is colluding with private schools to ban homeschoolers from playing at private schools.

History:
In 2003, NV law was changed to allow homeschoolers to participate in extracurricular activities in the public school including sports. The law is silent, purposefully so, on the issue of homeschoolers playing for private schools. That allows each individual private school to decide if they want to allow a homeschool student to participate (public school must allow an eligible student to participate). Large private schools like Bishop Gorman have enough players to cull from their own student body but it is the small private schools that have historically been open to homeschoolers playing sports on their teams.

In 2005, SB221 was before the Assembly to clarify that homeschoolers could participate in sports at ALL grade levels, not just the NIAA governed grades 9 – 12. The bill eventually passed and was signed into law. Then Assemblyman Joe Hardy asked for exact language to be read from the Assembly floor that states the intent of the bill.

“The intent of SB221 is to allow, for all grade levels, any homeschooled child to try out and participate in interscholastic activities and events, including sports, in the public school he is zoned for, or to try out and participate in interscholastic activities and events, including sports, at a private school if the private school has a policy allowing participation. No league, association, or other governing authority may prevent a private school from having homeschooled children participate, or force a private school to accept homeschool participation, and the same rules that apply to children in the public or private school also apply to the homeschooled child.”

Approximately 2 years ago, there was an issue with a different private school saying that homeschoolers could no longer play for their school. After looking into it more at the time, it was determined this was due to a “gentleman’s handshake”, an agreement amongst private schools, to not allow homeschool students to play and the school in question was being strong armed into honoring the “agreement”. NHN made some phone calls at the time and eventually the determination came back that homeschoolers were welcome. Today, homeschoolers happily play for that school.

The Laws:
Nevada Revised Statutes (applicable statutes included at end of this letter) clearly state that:
1. Public schools may not restrict the eligibility or participation of homeschooled student any more than an enrolled public school student.
2. A school or organization shall not discriminate against homeschooled child.
3. The NIAA may not restrict the eligibility or participation of a homeschooled student any more than an enrolled public or PRIVATE school student.

What went wrong?
While NHN has not attended recent NIAA meetings, nor the private school meetings, we have the NIAA meeting minutes that clearly show there has been a “statewide philosophical agreement amongst all private schools to ban homeschoolers from sports”, please see the NIAA meeting Minutes for June 19th and 20th section 26 speaks about a statewide philosophical agreement.

“Liaison Walter thanked the Board for allowing him to serve nine years as the Private School liaison and vowed to still be involved as an active athletic director (Faith Lutheran High School). Mr. Walter expressed a concern with Calvary Chapel allowing home school students to compete, something that goes against a statewide private school philosophical agreement. Mr. Walter discussed the positive changes being made to the Private School Compliance Form”

That alone is some inflammatory news but there is more! After speaking with various coaches and athletic directors in Las Vegas, it is evident that some private schools are clearly against homeschoolers being allowed to play for ANY private school, and have bullied other private schools into agreeing with this decision. One private school even suggested they would forfeit their own games against any team where homeschoolers were being played. Imagine the pressure on the private school holding out and allowing homeschoolers to play on their team. Regrettably, the last private school holding out caved to the pressure this week and denied homeschool students the right to play on their school’s team.

Approximately 8 homeschool students play various sports at this school. One family has been involved with the basketball team for 3 years! Their son is a senior and is will not be able to play his senior year!! One family is a coach for that school, and his kids aren’t going to be allowed to play after all the time and effort he has put into it.

But this “statewide philosophical ban” doesn’t just affect those 8 kids. It affects any homeschooler who is now or desires in the future to play sports for a private school. This is clearly discrimination against homeschoolers.

What Can you do?
1. Contact NHN if your student (a homeschooler) has ever played/or is currently playing for a private school in NV. We need your stories.
2. Contact NHN if your homeschooled student has been denied the opportunity to try-out or play for a private school in NV.
3. Contact NHN if your homeschooled child would be interested in playing sports for a local private school in the future. We need to hear from you too in order to show that many students now and in the future will be affected by this “agreement” to disallow homeschool on private school teams.
4. Email the NIAA Board Members (and cc your Assemblyperson and State Senator) to let them know your thoughts! If there is a concern about homeschoolers playing sports with private school teams they should:
a) include homeschoolers in the talks; b) make decisions that are in accordance with the law, including the Open Meeting Law; c) make policies that are not blanket bans, but rather address the specific concerns, and d) Most importantly, ask them to NOT ban homeschoolers from playing on private school teams in policy, action, or endorsement.
And lastly, if you live in the Reno area, plan to attend the next NIAA Board Meeting to be held Oct. 7th and 8th at the Peppermill. You can prepare a 2 minute speech to succinctly express your position on the discrimination by some private schools against homeschool student athletes.

In conclusion:
At the moment NHN is looking into our legal options. Further, Kelley Radow and I will be attending the NIAA Board Meeting, working to protect your rights! We do need your financial assistance in this matter… if you can donate to NHN it would help us meet travel and lodging expenses to the NIAA meeting (click on “Donate” button on lower right side of our home page). Our financial reserve is quite low after meeting expenses during the just concluded NV Legislative Session. Your generosity for the sake of all Nevada homeschool children would be greatly appreciated! We’ll keep you updated and please feel free to contact me or any of the NHN Officers if you have more information and/or questions.

Thanks!
Elissa Wahl
NHN Vice-Chair

Mineral County Update

Upon scrutinizing Mineral County’s policies a little further, some very alarming things came to light. We have been in touch with Mineral County’s Superintendent and have sent him a copy of the below points, that are in violation of NV state law. We’ll keep you updated on the district’s willingness to adhere to law!!


Dear Dr. Kirk

This is a recap of our phone conversation, and an itemized listing of the areas where Mineral County appears to be in non-compliance with the homeschooling laws of NV.

1. School Board no longer has any approval process

NRS 392.700 #3

The purpose of the notice of intent to homeschool is to inform the school district in which the child resides that the child is exempt from the requirement of compulsory attendance.

Dr. Rheault’s Memo to the districts makes this very clear;

Page 1. #1 Compulsory attendance of a child in a public school must be excused if the parent chooses to provide education to the child and files a notice of intent to homeschool with the Superintendent of Schools of the school district where the child lives. SB404 no longer requires satisfactory written evidence that the child is receiving equivalent instruction be presented to the board of trustees of a local school district. Rather, requirements for information contained in the notice are now established in law and need only by acknowledged by the Superintendent of Schools where the notice is filed.

SB404 Sec 7 (1b), Sec 5(7)

This practice needs to stop immediately

2. Listing the student’s names in the Agenda’s runs afoul of 392.700 #5(f)

f) An optional statement that the parent may sign which provides:

I expressly prohibit the release of any information contained in this document, including, without limitation, directory information as defined in 20 U.S.C. 1232g(a)(5)(A), without my prior written consent.(Memo page 2, #10)

And certainly of

392.700 #8 pertains to who and how the superintendent may release a homeschooler’s records or information. (Memo page 2, #9)

And worse yet

392.700 #10

A school or organization shall not discriminate in any manner against a child who is or was homeschooled. (page 3, #12)

So, unless the school board does the same thing with children who are exempt from public school to go to a private school, this “special” treatment of homeschoolers is discrimination.

3. We understand you may have a desire to help all educators, even homeschoolers. Clark County has taken the position that helping homeschoolers is neither in the law, nor in their scope of purposes. We’d agree. That’s best left to homeschool groups.

PLEASE give interested homeschoolers the contact information for Nevada Homeschool Network and Dr. Orval Nutting.

4. That brings us to, what IS the districts responsibility?

Again, back to Dr. Rheault’s memo

1)To enforce Compulsory Ed law

2)For the superintendent to accept the Notification of intent (page 1, #1)

3)To make only the Dept of Ed Notice of Intent Form available (page 1, #4)

4)To NOT require or request any additional information or assurances from the parent who files. (page 1 #4)

5)To accept that form or any other Notice of Intent form that meets the requirements of Sec 5 (5) (Today this is 392.700 #5)

6)To provide a “written acknowledgement which clearly indicates that the parent has provided the notification required by law and that the child is being homeschooled.” (page 2, #8)

7)To retain a physical or electronic copy of the acknowledgement for not less than 15 years (page 2, #8)

8)To provide information on their website, in a timely manner, regarding the High School Proficiency Exam and all college entrance exams such as the S.A.T, the A.C.T. and the PSAT/NMSQT, including registration dates and examination dates. (page 2, # 13)

9)To Conduct Child Find- identify children with special needs, as required by Federal law

That’s it. No approval process. Not of the form, not of the educational plan. Only a court of law can offer an opinion on the contents of the educational plan, according to NRS 392.700 #12

5. Website…Once Mineral County School District is clear on the homeschooling law, the website then needs to also offer the correct information. It appears that your district has 3 websites, so all should be correct.

 

Gohawthornes which is seems to be under construction

Mineralcountyschools.org No homeschooling info and bad links

Mineral.k12.nv which is linked to Nevada Dept of Ed, has illegal homeschooling information , bad links and no testing information for homeschoolers as required by law

From this website: in bold italics are the areas of concern

Home Schooling

Step 1 Review the following website http://www.doe.nv.gov/schools/homeschooling.html

Step 2 Contact the Superintendent (Required)

Step 3 Complete Home School Forms

Step 2 is inaccurate. The phrase “required to contact” the supt., is very misleading. Rather the parents submit the NOI to the super, and by law it need not even be in person. No other “contact” is necessary.

PAGE 1:

HOME SCHOOL CHOICE

As part of Nevada’s Education choice, there are very specific requirements for individuals who will opt for home schooling their children. Nevada law (NRS 392.070) provides for a waiver of the compulsory attendance laws and procedures for parents/guardians to follow in pursuing the waiver. For background, resources, and contacts, please see the information below.

Mineral County Requires the following steps for the process to be complete prior to beginning the home school process:

1.A parent and or guardian must complete the required forms to begin participation in home schooling.

2.The parent and or guardian making the request must meet with the principal of the school of enrollment prior to board approval.

3.The Mineral County School Board will review the request and take the appropriate action.

4.The parent and or guardian will be notified of the board’s decision in writing within 5 days of the board meeting.

5.The parent and or guardian, upon board approval may check the student out of school.

Every “requirement” listed above is an egregious misrepresentation of NRS 392.070 and 392.700 and does not conform with Nevada law.

None of the “background or resource” links provided (see below) to these documents work; rather, sends the reader to an error 404 page. If interested homeschoolers were able to read any of the documents listed they would see immediately that Mineral County’s “requirements” are not in compliance with the law.

2007-RHEAULT Letter for Homeschooling

2007 Homeschool Information – Table of Contents

2007 Homeschool Information

Notice of Intent to Homeschool

Notice if Intent of Homeschooled Child to Participate

If you need further information, contact: Orval K. Nutting, Ed.D.

Nevada Department of Education

1749 Moody St., Suite 40

Carson City, NV 89706-2543

ph: 775-687-9238

fax: 775-687-9113

email: onutting@doe.nv.gov

2007-DR. RHEAULT Letter for Homeschooling

6.Currently Nevada Homeschool Network has an Alert out on our statewide group and on our Nevada homeschool network website and has been in touch with Dr. Orval Nutting on this issue.

While Nevada Homeschool Network certainly holds no “authority” over Mineral County School District, we sincerely hope you will verify all of the above information and act accordingly. We will be doing our duty and looking out for all homeschoolers by following up on Mineral’s compliance.

Most sincerely,

Elissa Wahl

Nevada Homeschool Network

cc: Dr. Orval Nutting, NV Dept of Ed

Dr. Keith Rheault, Superintendent of Public Instruction, NV

Mineral County School District Not In Compliance With Homeschool Law

The information listed on the school district’s website regarding homeschooling is incorrect.

There is no requirement to meet with the superintendent and there is no need for the school board to “approve” your Notice of Intent.

If you plan on pulling your child from the Mineral County School District to homeschool, PLEASE read the laws listed on our LAWS page, and be prepared to educate the office. We will be in communications with the district over this matter and hope it is solved shortly. Meanwhile, please let us know if you have any problems!