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West Virginia Gov. Justice: Homeschool changes spurred by Miller case could be on special session call

By Charles Young, The Preston County News & Journal

CHARLESTON, W.Va. — Gov. Jim Justice said he will consider asking lawmakers to change the requirements for reporting the progress of homeschooled students during a special session later this year.

Justice, during a press briefing Friday, fielded numerous questions related to his office’s investigation surrounding the death of a 14-year-old Boone County girl. He also discussed initial policy changes he plans to suggest as a result of the investigation’s findings.

In April, Boone County deputies responded to a call and discovered the remains of 14-year-old Kyneddi Miller. The officers said Miller’s body was “emaciated to a skeletal state.”

During a press conference Thursday to address questions related to Miller’s death, Justice Chief of Staff Brian Abraham said Miller was taken out of the public school system in 2019.

Although Miller was on homeschooled status, Boone County Schools never received an assessment of Miller’s homeschool progress, which is typically submitted for eighth-graders, Abraham said.

These assessments are supposed to be submitted to the county every three years, but they are optional, Abraham said.

“In the event there’s a failure to do that, the county may reach out and issue what’s called a truancy petition,” he said.

If the county had done so, there is a “possibility” some form of court-ordered intervention could have occurred, Abraham said.

Justice, who recently confirmed plans for the year’s second extraordinary session of the Legislature, said he is likely to add the issue of homeschool assessments to the list of items for lawmakers to consider.

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