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Vol. XXVIII
No. 2
Cover
Spring
2012

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ILLINOIS

Homeschool Grad Enters Missouri Highway Patrol

Upon graduation from a home-based private school in Illinois, Sandy Karstens (name changed to protect privacy) applied for a job with the Missouri State Highway Patrol (MSHP). Although Sandy’s credentials were outstanding, he received a letter saying MSHP’s offer of employment was contingent upon his obtaining a general equivalency diploma (GED).

Questioning the validity of this requirement, Sandy’s parents, who are members of Home School Legal Defense Association, turned to us for help.

HSLDA Senior Counsel Scott Woodruff promptly penned a letter to the MSHP. He pointed out a Missouri statute that says completion of an education in compliance with Missouri compulsory attendance law satisfies the MSHP’s high school education requirement. Woodruff urged the MSHP representative to give the same respect to the laws of other states by accepting lawfully educated homeschooled students from those states on a nondiscriminatory basis.

Woodruff’s letter also explained that attending a private school complies with Missouri compulsory attendance law, and since a homeschool in Illinois is classified as a private school, Sandy was qualified for employment under the private school provision of the Missouri compulsory attendance law as well.

Finally, Woodruff noted that Missouri law prohibits state agencies from discriminating against a candidate for employment based on how he received his secondary education, so long as it was “permitted under Missouri law.” And since Sandy attended a private school—which is permitted under Missouri law—MSHP should not discriminate against him.

A week later, the MSHP told Sandy that he could accept the job offer and begin training in its academy immediately. The GED demand was dropped.

—by Scott A. Woodruff