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Action Alert !!!


WEST VIRGINIA

Dear WVHEA Members and Friends,



Like many of you, WVHEA watched the press conference held June 7 by Gov. Jim Justice’s office regarding the death of Boone County teenager Kyneddi Miller.



Fourteen-year-old Kyneddi had reportedly been homeschooled since February 2021. In April of this year, she was found dead in her home of apparent starvation. Understandably, state and local officials want to identify how they can prevent such a horrifying death from happening again.



You can watch the press conference here.

WHAT'S AT STAKE?

During the press conference, state officials expressed their belief that more homeschooling regulation is needed to keep children safe from abuse and neglect.



State Superintendent Michele L. Blatt told the media, “the West Virginia Department of Education is eager to work with the legislature to strengthen the guardrails around homeschool reporting requirements.”



She added that the department “would like to strengthen the requirements so … if an assessment is not given, there’s some way that we have contact with that [homeschool] family and that we see that [homeschool] child."



The governor’s office appears to support this call to increase oversight and regulation of the West Virginia homeschool community. Senate President Clair Blair has announced his approval as well.

WHAT ABOUT A SPECIAL SESSION?

Governor Justice has announced plans to call a special session in August, and increasing regulations for homeschool students is on the table. While we don’t know exactly what will be proposed, suggested restrictions could range from increasing the frequency of student assessments, to requiring monitoring or even submitting to in-home assessments by state officials.

WHAT CAN WE DO NOW?

We encourage you to reach out to your elected officials. Strengthening relationships with your delegate and senator is the most effective thing you can do to protect homeschool freedom. When lawmakers know homeschool families personally, they gain firsthand knowledge of how homeschooling helps students thrive and can more easily understand how increased regulation limits homeschooling’s benefits.



Find your elected officials here: West Virginia House of Delegates & West Virginia Senate.



Ask to meet with your delegate and senator in person to have a civil and meaningful discussion. You can invite them for coffee or tea, or visit a town hall event.

WHAT CAN I SAY?

Here are a few points you can discuss with officials, in your own words:

  • This is a child welfare issue. The death of Kyneddi Miller highlights the need for significant child welfare changes.  Increasing regulation on every homeschool parent and child in West Virginia is wrong and doesn’t fix the problem.  

  • Criminal child neglect laws already apply. West Virginia already has laws against child abuse and neglect, and this case is properly being handled in the criminal justice systems.  

  • Homeschool regulation is not the problem. The issue is not about homeschool assessments or regulation. Instead, local school officials and the Child Welfare Agency should properly use existing laws and policies.


Child abuse and neglect does not characterize the homeschool community in West Virginia. It is wrong to suggest that all parents who love and care for their children and homeschool should be viewed suspiciously because of the actions of some.



WVHEA, CHEWV and HSLDA are standing together to protect our homeschooling freedom.



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