Despite having earned firefighting and paramedic certification, a college student was informed by an Indiana fire department that she could not be hired because she was homeschooled.
Officials at the fire department told the homeschool graduate that she needed to pass a high school equivalency test such as the GED or HiSET for them to consider her application.
Since her parents had been members of Home School Legal Defense Association, she contacted us for help.
I spoke with the young woman and learned that she had graduated in 2007—and that her parents had been diligent in complying with Indiana homeschool law. After high school, she attended Kaplan University. She ended up earning her Indiana Firefighter I/II certification, her paramedic license, and her advanced cardiovascular life support certification.
Considering all her accomplishments, it might seem surprising that the local fire department would insist on this young woman getting a GED. Unfortunately, all too many employers place similar burdens on homeschool graduates simply because they were educated at home.
Putting Out Fires
I quickly sent a letter to the fire department. After explaining that a homeschool program is a nonpublic school under Indiana law, I pointed out that homeschooling is a perfectly legitimate educational option. I also pointed out to the fire department that not only was this young woman accepted into college on the strength of her diploma, her completion of numerous courses related to her desired career also confirmed the adequacy of her earlier education.
Even after receiving our letter, the fire department refused to hire this young woman. We believe that our continued fight for this young woman and other homeschool graduates facing similar discrimination will eventually lead to a change in policy and broaden the acceptance of homeschool diplomas—in compliance with Indiana law.