State Proposes Changes To Home Schooling

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Lincoln, Neb. -- The state now wants all home schooled families to file exemption paperwork by July 1 each year.

In a statement to 10/11 News, the Department of Education said the proposal follows the State v. Thacker ruling from May, 2013.

The stated filed charges against the Thacker family for failing to register their children for public school after moving to Nebraska, according to court records.

The Nebraska Supreme Court overruled the charges.

Now, the states want to clarify the law by having all families submit their paperwork the same date, so families avoid the risk of truancy.

The current law states families renewing their exemptions must have the paperwork in by July 15, unless they are first time enrollees, in which they need to have the paper work in "30 days prior to starting the school."

Putting first time enrollees and renewers on the same date may seem minor, but to some families, it's a big deal.

“The proposed changes are what we believe are going to add additional burdens to Christian or otherwise secular home school families,” Christina St. Hilaire, a home school parent, said.

A home school student, Haley Buell, echoed St. Hilaire's thoughts.

“The changes appear to be restricting the parents instead of helping the parents,” Buell said.

The problem, St. Hilaire outlined, is that curriculum plans need to be submitted at the same time as exemption paperwork.

St. Hilaire said that puts more stress on families trying to school children the way they see fit.

"This is an additional hardship families," St. Hilaire said, "and we feel the Department of Education should be easing these restraints.”

**This video contains images of the Nebraska State Education Association (NSEA). It should be noted this association is not related to the state education's proposed changes to home school laws. We apologize for this error.**