A United States Navy internship program almost put an early end to a homeschool graduate’s dream through its implementation of a problematic security check policy that made it virtually impossible for homeschoolers to pass.
After the homeschool grad was tentatively accepted to the Naval Surface Warfare Center (NSWC) student trainee engineer internship program in Crane, Indiana, his aspirations to begin his training were quickly deflated.
As a 2014 homeschool graduate whose pre-collegiate education was in full compliance with Indiana state law, he soon found out that his homeschooling posed a critical barrier toward beginning a career in the Navy — even despite the fact that he was currently enrolled at the University of Evansville to continue his education.
The Home School Legal Defense Association (HSLDA) became involved in the matter after being informed about the NSWC’s discriminatory policy preventing homeschoolers from enrolling.
“Because the internship at the NSWC exists under the auspices of the Department of the Navy, the homeschool graduate was required to pass a security check by the Office of Personnel Management (OPM),” HSLDA reported. “As part of the verification process, OPM demanded that the applicant provide the name and address of the school that had oversight of his homeschool program; his residence — where the homeschooling actually took place — was not sufficient.”
Because Indiana state law does not require homeschool programs within the state to operate under the oversight of a school or other academic entity, it was impossible for the homeschool grad to meet the NSWC’s demand — even though his homeschool is considered a nonpublic school.
Once the frustrated aspiring naval intern explained to the NSWC that he was unable to attain and submit the required information, the program notified him that if he could not provide it, his security clearance would be rejected by the OPM — which would greatly diminish any chances he had of beginning his NSWC internship.
“[You] need to find a way to verify that you were homeschooled — and that you have a diploma or the equivalent of a diploma,” the NSWC informed the young man.
Setting a new course
Seeing absolutely no way around the NSWC’s roadblock, the homeschool grad’s parents sought legal assistance from HSLDA so that their son could be given a fair chance to enter the program. Immediately, HSLDA Staff Attorney Tj Schmidt sent a letter on the homeschool graduate’s behalf to the NSWC.
In the letter, the attorney from the Christian nonprofit organization informed the NSWC about Indiana’s homeschool law and provided confirmation that the homeschool documentation the young man submitted earlier was more than sufficient to ensure that he would — or should — receive full admittance to the naval center’s internship program.
“[H]omeschool graduates are routinely accepted into the U.S. military and receive federal financial aid for college based on parental certification of their completion of high school and proof of compliance with their state homeschool laws,” Schmidt emphasized in his letter to the NSWC.
In response to the attorney’s letter, the NSWC sent the homeschool grad and his family confirmation that he could now move forward in his internship.
After NSCW received Schmidt’s letter, the homeschool graduate and his family received confirmation that his internship was moving forward at the center.
HSLDA reports that that the former homeschool student successfully began his training program at the NSWC earlier this month.