When Leslie Agro applied for a job recently with a South Carolina sheriff’s office, he didn’t expect to encounter questions about whether his homeschool diploma qualified him for employment.
Then again, he also didn’t anticipate the county’s top law enforcement officers interceding on his behalf.
Leslie submitted his application for work and completed all the necessary evaluations with the Charleston County Sheriff’s Office late in 2020. When officials in the human resources department rebuffed him—solely because he was homeschooled—he contacted Home School Legal Defense Association.
“He was told he had to get the GED in order to meet the minimum education qualifications because he didn’t have a state-issued diploma,” explained Dan Beasley, HSLDA’s staff attorney responsible for advocacy efforts in South Carolina.
Dan and his legal assistant, Emily Roessler, contacted the human resources department at the Charleston County Sheriff’s Office.
They explained that Leslie had been issued a high school diploma by a homeschool association that operates under a specific provision of South Carolina law.
Dan wrote, “The association is required to meet statutory academic requirements and is subject to annual review by the South Carolina Department of Education.”
He also pointed out to human resources that nothing from the sheriff’s office stated that job applicants are required to have a state-issued diploma.
An official then replied, thanking HSLDA for pointing out the oversight—and proceeded to assure us that this specific requirement would soon be posted.
Sheriffs Step In
We then contacted outgoing Sheriff Al Cannon, and the situation quickly changed.
Sheriff Cannon emailed to say that he would direct staff to take a closer look at Leslie’s case.
“I can assure that the Charleston County Sheriff’s Office does not knowingly discriminate against any legitimate applicant,” he wrote, adding, “this matter will be addressed.”
Newly elected Sheriff Kristin Graziano also interceded, and Leslie was placed into the employment pool.
The homeschool graduate said he was grateful to everyone who helped him.
“Since the intervention of Sheriff Cannon and the assistance of newly elected Sheriff Graziano, I have been treated with the utmost respect and given every opportunity afforded to other applicants in the hiring process,” Leslie stated. “I
look forward to working with a premier law enforcement agency in the civilian role I have been offered.”
We’re pleased by the outcome as well. And we’re working hard to achieve similar outcomes for any homeschool graduates who encounter this sort of discrimination.
So far four states have laws guaranteeing equal treatment for homeschool high school graduates; 12 states provide partial protection against discrimination. HSLDA plans to support legislation promoting homeschool equality in several states this year.
Our goal is to reach an era when every homeschool graduate is treated fairly—whether they apply for work, advanced education, the military, or any other life-improving endeavors.