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2 Emails From HSLDA. 1 Homeschool Grad’s Application Approved.

by Darren Jones • September 25, 2018

How long does it take a government agency to realize it’s made a mistake? In the case of homeschool graduate Maddison Henslin, two hours and twelve minutes.

Like several other homeschool graduates I’ve worked with, Maddison wants to draw blood. Not with paint or colored pencils, but with foot-long sharp pokey needles (at least, that’s always what they look like to me as I scrunch my eyes shut at the doctor’s office).

Maddison had attended public high school for two years, and then graduated from a California homeschool program taught by her mother.

When she applied to the California Department of Health to get her phlebotomy certification, she had to include transcripts from both the public school and her homeschool. Even though both transcripts were submitted in sealed envelopes, as the CDP requires, she received an email back complaining that “We could not verify the transcript. The transcript was not in a school-sealed envelope and not accredited.”

Taking a Closer Look

When Maddison contacted us, I wrote to the department. Because we weren’t sure whether the issue was the transcript or the accreditation, I pointed out that both official transcripts were in sealed envelopes. I also noted that California law didn’t require phlebotomists to have graduated from accredited schools—an error that the department has been making for years.

The department doubled down in its response, saying, “The official transcript was not from an accredited school and not in a school-sealed envelope; therefore it is considered unofficial. Please provide an official school transcript in a school-sealed envelope. It must be an accredited school.”

This response was really frustrating, because we thought the department had fixed the problem. So I sent a follow-up email, marked “Urgent!” and demanding a phone call to discuss the matter.

The email was sent at 1:10 p.m. At 3:22 p.m., the department emailed Maddison, “Congratulations! Your application has been approved.”

Maddison’s mother, a longtime HSLDA member, wrote to us, “I can’t express how thankful I am. We love HSLDA and will continue to support this organization. You all DO what you promise and I appreciate it so much.”


Darren Jones

Senior Counsel

Darren is a litigation attorney and homeschool graduate who helps HSLDA member families resolve legal difficulties related to homeschooling. Read more.


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