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September 26, 2017

Skeptical Employer Treats Homeschool Grad Like He’s Still in School

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DAN BEASLEY
Contact attorney for Alabama

An 18-year-old homeschool graduate was being treated as an “adult minor” by his employer because they claimed they could not verify that he had completed high school.

Because of this perplexing classification, Publix—the Florida-based supermarket chain where the graduate worked—scheduled him to work only between 2:30 p.m. and 9:00 p.m. on school days. Additionally, Publix forced the graduate to comply with other burdensome procedures, which were unnecessary since he was no longer attending high school.

The company told the graduate that, in order to be treated as an adult, he must prove that he had completed high school. When he explained that he was a homeschool graduate, Publix requested that he prove it by submitting the results of the Alabama High School Graduation Exam—a test for public school students that acts as a prerequisite to receiving a public high school diploma.

The graduate had not taken the exam because it is not a requirement for homeschool students.

Proof of Compliance

He instead offered his homeschool high school transcript and a copy of his ACT score, which placed him in the top 5 percent of students who took the college entrance exam nationwide.

His parents, longtime HSLDA members, contacted us for assistance. I wrote a letter to the Publix corporate office detailing the family’s compliance with Alabama homeschool law, and asserted that their compliance, coupled with their son’s transcript and ACT score, were sufficient to confirm that he was a legitimate high school graduate.

I also pointed out that Alabama law prohibits institutions of higher education from discriminating against an otherwise qualified student based on the consideration that the student was homeschooled. While not specifically binding on employers, this law means that the state believes homeschool graduates should not face discrimination based solely on their homeschooled status.

We agree with the state. And now, Publix does too.

After consulting with their legal counsel, Publix is now treating the young man as a high school graduate. He is no longer an “adult minor.”

The graduate’s mother thanked me for HSLDA’s services. Without us, she did not think Publix would have changed their position. Despite being a member for over a decade, she didn’t need our legal services until after her son graduated.

“I did not realize how much people do not understand the liberties we have in Alabama,” the mother reflected. “I will be a [member of HSLDA] until I die.”