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January 24, 2012

N.H. school officials deal with new law

(Continued)

Greenberg questions how the law should be interpreted and implemented.

"What (the bill's sponsor) is saying is anyone can object to anything for any reason," Greenberg said.

What if the parents of several students raised objections, superintendents asked. It could disrupt an entire class, they said.

Parents would be required to foot the cost of teaching their children an alternative subject, according to the law.

HB 542 was drafted by Republican Rep. J.R. Hoell, R-Dunbarton, and passed by the Legislature last year. The law is overdue, he said yesterday.

"There has been a lot of concern for years that parents have very little say in the education of their children," Hoell said. "It's either take it or leave it."

He said parents are praising the law, but school officials remain skeptical.

"As for parents, they all love it," Hoell said. "As for superintendents, they are all concerned."

The law was enacted after lawmakers overrode Lynch's veto only two weeks ago.

But Henry LaBranche, superintendent of Windham and Pelham schools, said the two school districts began work on their policies about six weeks ago.

At that time, it was clear the bill would become law, he said.

• • •

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