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April 12, 2016

HSLDA Gets Homeschool Grad into Jail

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HSLDA’s work over the last 30 years has largely been to keep homeschoolers out of jail. But recently, a homeschool graduate from Washington County, Florida, wanted HSLDA’s help to get him into the big house.

Tj Schmidt TJ SCHMIDT Contact attorney for Florida

The young man, who graduated in 2015 through a private school home-based extension program (frequently called “umbrella” programs in Florida), had applied for a position as a corrections officer in the Florida Northwest Reception Center, a regional facility. The applicant had provided his diploma and transcript to the reception center, along with verification letters from the private school umbrella and the Florida Department of Education’s Office of Independent Education and Parental Choice, which is the entity umbrella schools must register with in order to legally operate.

For the boys in blue at the reception center, however, all that paperwork wasn’t enough.

The reception center wanted the applicant to provide a letter from a local public college stating that his high school transcript would be accepted as “accredited” by a college or university. The public college declined to provide such a letter, especially since the young man was not seeking admission to the college. Without any feasible way to provide the document the reception center was requiring, the young man’s pathway to being a prison guard seemed shackled.

Fortunately, the young man’s mother had been a member of HSLDA for many years and was aware of the assistance HSLDA gives to homeschool graduates. She contacted HSLDA’s Florida legal team about the roadblock to her son’s jailhouse employment.  

After getting the full report on the situation, Staff Attorney Daniel Beasley sent a letter to the Northwest Reception Center, explaining that the applicant had been homeschooled through a home-based extension program of a private school in accordance with Florida law. He pointed out that graduates of such programs are not required to obtain a state-certified diploma, and that the U.S. Department of Education allows a student to “self-certify” his or her completion of high school in a homeschool program. Beasley argued that in light of the documentation the applicant had already submitted, the reception center did not need any further verification in order to process the young man’s application.  

The week after Beasley’s letter was received by the reception center, the applicant’s family informed us that his paperwork had been processed, and that he would soon become one the Florida Department of Corrections’ newest officers.

If you have a homeschool graduate experiencing job discrimination because of his or her homeschool education background, please get in touch with HSLDA.