Should students have a say about where they're educated? The Pittsylvania County Schools Superintendent says they should if their parents want them homeschooled for religious reasons.
But a statewide homeschooling organization disagrees saying the decision takes away parental rights by allowing the student to make a choice whether he or she should be in public school or in a religious based homeschool program.
Currently when a parent wants to take their student out of public schooling and start homeschooling, the Pittsylvania County school board usually accepts a written letter from the parent.
But after taking a closer look at Virginia Code, Superintendent James McDaniel said that procedure should change.
"Given the fact that our policy says one thing, and the Code of Virginia says the exact same thing, do we have a responsibility to include the student in this decision making process," McDaniel said, adding that he's just following the Virginia code.
The particular section pertaining to homeschooling reads:
"B. A school board shall excuse from attendance at school:
1. Any pupil who, together with his parents, by reason of bona fide religious training or belief is conscientiously opposed to attendance at school."
McDaniel recommended that the school board change its procedure, asking members to also get an approval from the student as well as the parent before accepting the request for religious homeschooling.
"There's nothing new here. It's just a matter of application or compliance with what the code already says," McDaniel said.
The Home Educators Association of Virginia based in Richmond, is a non-profit statewide liaison for homeschoolers.
I spoke with an employee over the phone who says the organization believes parents should have the final say, no matter what the student wants.
"The parent has the maturity and the understanding to teach and train their children, and I do believe that that infringes on the freedom of religion rights," said Yvonne Bunn, Director of Government Affairs within the Home Educators Association of Virginia.
McDaniel says he's a Christian and not trying to take away parental rights, again just following the law.
Board members will discuss it again at their next meeting in February.