Parents in West Virginia aren't required to buy classroom basics - WOWK 13 Charleston, Huntington WV News, Weather, Sports

Parents in West Virginia aren't required to buy classroom basics

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CHARLESTON -

By the time you purchase shoes, clothes, coats and the other items your children need to head back to school, paying for their classroom supplies can be overwhelming.

Some parents have questioned if schools are allowed to give them a list of items their students need for class.

A spokesperson for the West Virginia State Board of Education said it is acceptable for teachers to provide parents with a list of supplies they may wish to purchase.

A press release provided by the agency said no child can be denied participation in a public school system if their parent cannot or chooses not to purchase the items.

While there aren't any state statutes or policies addressing school supplies a 1995 West Virginia State Supreme Court of Appeals opinion states that only items that are an integral and fundamental part of elementary or secondary education must be provided free of charge to all students.

Items such as backpacks, tissues, baggies, hand sanitizer, specialized binders and folders are not considered "integral and fundamental". According to the West Virginia Board of Education items that would be considered "integral and  fundamental" to public education would include basic paper, writing utensils, and other basic items that a student would need to participate in the curriculum and complete the assignments.

A press release provided by the agency said parents are welcome to donate school supplies for their child's classrooms if they are financially able to do so. The release went on to clarify that no child would be denied participation in a school activity or be penalized because his or her parents or guardians don't have enough money.

The West Virginia Board of Education said in the release that it is acceptable for schools to request parents purchase their own equipment for classes like band, dance, theater and choir. But if a child cannot afford to buy instruments or costumes county school systems should have a contingency plan to allow a student to fully participate in the activity.