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May 22, 2017

District Cuts Teen’s High School Program Short


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A Home School Legal Defense Association member family in Miami-Dade County School District recently faced some difficulties when public school officials refused to acknowledge that the family’s daughter was still a home education student.

Joel Fischer JOEL FISCHER Legal Assistant for Florida

The young woman had taken classes at Miami-Dade College through its dual enrollment program for the 2016-2017 school year and was preparing to enroll for a second year. As part of the continued eligibility requirements, the college needed confirmation from the public school district that the student was still on record as an active home education student.

Unfortunately the district decided, apparently on the basis of the young woman’s birthdate, that she was graduating at the end of this school year. As a result, her home education program would no longer be active, and the student would not be eligible for dual enrollment during the fall academic term.

While most high school students graduate around the age of 18, some students graduate later than that. In the case of this member family, there were a handful of courses that their daughter wanted to complete in the coming school year.

Even the student’s annual homeschool evaluation for the 2016–2017 school year, performed by a Florida-certified teacher, stated that she still had coursework to complete for 12th grade. Despite this, Miami-Dade wouldn’t change her presumed graduation date.

With their daughter’s second year of dual enrollment in jeopardy, the family reached out to HSLDA for help.

HSLDA Staff Attorney Tj Schmidt sent a letter to the school district’s attorney on the family’s behalf. Schmidt argued that since homeschooling parents in Florida have the ability to determine their student’s grade level, they also have the ability to determine when the student graduates. Schmidt pointed out that the family had already demonstrated via their annual evaluation for the student that she would not be graduating until May 2018. He argued that the district should confirm that she was still an active home education student.

A few weeks later, the school district’s attorney informed HSLDA that the district had corrected the student’s record and would list her as a home education student with the district. The attorney confirmed that they would change the student’s listed graduation date to the following year.

As a result, the student was eligible for her second year of dual enrollment at Miami-Dade College.

“It definitely makes a difference when you have people who [know] the law fighting for your right to educate your child,” said the mother. “We are so grateful for HSLDA’s help and their advocacy for homeschool families.”