Home school grad wins battle to join Army
On October 31, 2001, Home School Legal Defense Association received a call from a Virginia member family whose son was experiencing difficulty enlisting in the United States Army because the recruiting officer had questions about the family's "non-accredited" 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 third-party verification letter.
After reading our information, the recruiting officer was persuaded, but as it turned out, he was just the first hurdle. Educational Battalion Officer Dee George was the second.
When this young man's enlistment papers reached George's desk, she demanded "proof" of home schooling: 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.
HSLDA Attorney Christopher J. Klicka telephoned George in an attempt to resolve the problem, but she stood firm, insisting that this home school graduate would not be admitted for "educational reasons." Klicka then called William Kunisch, Education Services Specialist, U.S. Army Recruiting Command. Kunisch confirmed HSLDA's understanding that home school graduates are simply required to provide a diploma, list of completed coursework, and third-party verification letter. Klicka then prepared a verification letter, dated November 27, 2001 and addressed to the recruiting officer and George, which also summarized his phone conversation with Kunisch.
After several more weeks of phone calls, HSLDA sent a second, more strongly worded letter to Dee George on December 13, 2001, reiterating the first letter and citing United States Army Recruiting Command message 01-049(4) which clearly states home school applicants' enlistment eligibility. Upon receipt of this letter, George called the recruiter to recommend that the home school graduate enter the Army in Tier One status.
- Scott A. Woodruff