U.Va. study questions school attendance religious exemption, says some may not get education
September 16, 2012
CHARLOTTESVILLE, Va. — Some Virginia children might not be getting any education because of the state’s religious exemption from mandatory school attendance, according to a recent University of Virginia study.
Virginia doesn’t require parents to provide any education to children who are granted religious exemptions. The statute also doesn’t require exempted students to meet any educational requirements, according to the study by the Child Advocacy Clinic at the University of Virginia law school. . . .
Home-school advocates say the law is essential to preserving the rights of families who believe that any state control of their children’s education would violate the tenets of their faith.
“This is a very serious decision, not something everyone should do,” said Yvonne Bunn of the Home Educators Association of Virginia. “It is based on sincere religious conviction. If that’s not the case, they need to just comply with the home-schooling law.”
Parents who seek the exemption, Bunn said, “would probably rather go to jail rather than put their children in school, because they have very strong convictions that they’re following what God has directed them to do.” . . .