January 18, 2002

Home Schooler Wins Battle to Join the Army

Recently, Home School Legal Defense Association received a call from a member family in Virginia whose son was experiencing difficulty enlisting in the United States Army because the recruiting officer had questions about the "accredited" status of the family's home school program.

HSLDA faxed information to the recruiting officer explaining that federal law requires home schoolers to be automatically placed in Tier One status upon presentation of a high school diploma, a list of completed coursework, and a third-party verification letter.

After reading our information, the recruiting officer desired to help this young man but ran into serious problems with U.S. Army Educational Battalion Officer Dee George, who demanded "proof" of home schooling from the family: a letter from the school district, transcripts from an accredited institution, and a notarized letter from the parents stating they had actually conducted the home instruction. She even asked to review the textbooks the family had used! None of this information is required under law.

An HSLDA attorney called, in an attempt to resolve the problem, but Ms. George stood firm in her position that the home school graduate would not be admitted for "educational reasons." We then went over her head and contacted Mr. William Kunisch, Education Services Specialist, U.S. Army Recruiting Command.

Specialist Kunisch confirmed that a home school graduate was simply required to provide a diploma, a list of completed coursework, and a "third-party verification letter" that could be written by HSLDA. We prepared the verification letter, which also summarized our phone conversation with Mr. Kunisch, and sent it to the recruiting officer and Ms. George.

After several more weeks of phone calls and an additional letter to Ms. George, the matter was resolved. Upon receipt of HSLDA's second letter, Dee George called the recruiter to recommend that the home school graduate be allowed to enter the Army in Tier One status.