A cosmetology school graduate who asked for special accommodations for dyslexia on her licensing test was instead nearly prevented from working in her chosen field—because she was homeschooled.

The young woman received her high school diploma in 2020 upon completing her parents’ homeschool program in Oregon. On the strength of these academic credentials, she was accepted into cosmetology school in Nevada.

After finishing the cosmetology program, the student applied to take Nevada’s cosmetology licensing exam. She asked that test proctors accommodate her dyslexia, a request that apparently drew additional scrutiny of her academic records.

Not only did officials at the Nevada State Board of Cosmetology ignore the student’s special learning needs, but they also said that  her homeschool diploma disqualified her from taking the licensing test, so she would need to obtain a GED.

The grad’s parents contacted HSLDA for help.

Encountering Additional Obstacles

“The graduate’s mom told us she had reached out to her state’s department of education,” said HSLDA Staff Attorney Amy Buchmeyer, “and they recommended that she contact HSLDA. Both the cosmetology school and the department of education were very sympathetic, but they didn’t know how to help.”

Attorney Buchmeyer began by getting more details from administrators at the cosmetology school. She learned that several other homeschool students who graduated from this academy had encountered no obstacles when applying to take the state licensing exam.

Apparently, the difficulty arose for the Oregon graduate because she requested special accommodation. As part of that process, she was required to submit a copy of her homeschool diploma to the state cosmetology board.

The family told us that the cosmetology board wanted documentation from the Oregon Department of Education vouching for their graduate’s homeschool credentials.

Going Back to What the Law Says

In response, Buchmeyer wrote to the board, explaining that they were making an impossible request based on a misunderstanding of education law.

She stated: “The Oregon Department of Education does not provide diplomas or transcripts for homeschool students, just as they do not provide them for private school students. Instead, as administrators of their school, homeschool parents are responsible for certifying their student’s completion of high school.” 

Just a few weeks later, the board relented. The grad’s mother reported that after weeks of receiving no response, the board “reversed their decision as the law, facts, and supporting documentation made it clear that the diploma and transcripts were ‘valid.’”

The young woman took her test, earned her license, and now works as a cosmetologist.

“We want to express our heartfelt gratitude,” the graduate’s mom wrote us. “It is organizations such as yours that give a critical voice and advocate for our rights as parents to homeschool. Thank you for giving my daughter the chance to move forward.”