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April 16, 2008

Mineral school board puts off home-schooling policy decision

KEYSER - After a lengthy and detailed discussion on the proposed policy on home-schooling students, the Mineral County Board of Education decided Tuesday to postpone any action until they can answer a series of questions originally posed by the Keyser High School Guidance Department.

The board members have been considering a proposed policy since their April 1 meeting when a large number of home school supporters appeared in protest of the removal of three students from classes they were taking at county schools.

At issue was the question of what constitutes a home-schooled student as opposed to a full-time public school student, and whether Superintendent of Schools Skip Hackworth had the authority to have the students removed from all but two of their classes in February.

When he took the action, Hackworth said home-schooled students could take no more than 50 percent of their classes in school without being classified as a full-time public school student.

The home school supporters questioned, however, how he had the authority to make that decision without an official policy in place.

Tuesday, Attendance Director and Home School Coordinator Linda Marsh said Hackworth's action came about as a result of several questions that had been asked by the guidance counselors at Keyser High School.

Noting that the guidance counselors had commented that they were noticing more and more home-schooled students taking an increasing number of classes, Marsh said the counselors requested clarification as to what exactly constitutes a full-time student.

"We are going into an area with home-school kids now where we've never gone before," she said, noting that even as recent as three or four years ago home-schooled students would request permission to enroll in one or two classes at the most.

The students in question were enrolled in four classes.

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