April 2, 2012

Illinois Homeschool Grad Enters Missouri Highway Patrol with HSLDA Help

Sandy Karstens (name changed to protect privacy) graduated from a home-based private school in Illinois. He applied for a job with the Missouri State Highway Patrol (MSHP).

His credentials were outstanding. But he received a letter saying his offer of employment was contingent upon him obtaining a GED. Members of HSLDA, his family turned to us for help.

HSLDA Senior Counsel Scott A. Woodruff wrote 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 other states on a non-discriminatory basis.

Woodruff’s letter also pointed out 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 their academy immediately—and the GED demand was dropped.