Ohio State Senator: 'Too Late' to Address Discrimination against Homeschool Graduates

State Sen. Peggy Lehner (R), chair of the Ohio Senate Education Committee, said that it is “just too late” in the state legislature’s session to consider a bill that would ban discrimination against homeschool graduates in Ohio.

According to Mike Donnelly, staff attorney at the Home School Legal Defense Association (HSLDA), Lehner’s committee is considering legislation as part of its mid-year budget review, and has been asked to include language that would prevent companies and colleges from blaming state law for their discrimination against homeschool graduates. Lehner and state Senate leadership, however, have said it is “just too late” to include the language.

The addition to the legislation stemmed from the decision made by energy company NiSource, Inc. to rescind a job offer made to an applicant because he was homeschooled.

As Breitbart News reported, Donnelly said that NiSource attorney Adele O’Connor referenced an Ohio code that pertains to public and chartered private schools, but not homeschools, to justify her company’s decision to rescind the job offer to a homeschool graduate who had relevant job experience, possessed several key industry certifications, and had completed seven courses from a recognized state college at which he had made the dean’s list.

“NiSource is wrongly using Ohio law as an excuse to defend its discriminatory hiring policy,” stated Donnelly. “There is simply no legal impediment to NiSource hiring a homeschool graduate – especially the one in question here.”

“Ohio law clearly recognizes homeschooling as a legal and valid educational option,” he continued. “To rescind an offer of employment to an otherwise qualified and experienced applicant who received a legally recognized education is unreasonable and discriminatory.”

Donnelly asserted that, while Ohio law recognizes homeschooling as a legal and valid means of education, private and state-owned colleges and universities continue to create obstacles for homeschool graduates.

Donnelly distinguished between the rights of private companies to hire applicants for their own reasons versus private companies blaming a state law for discriminating against a homeschool graduate.

“Private companies can hire who they want, but they should not be permitted to say that they can’t hire homeschoolers because they don’t have a legal diploma,” he said.

Donnelly added that Ohio citizens and homeschool families should contact Lehner and state Senate President Keith Faber to tell them to include Amendment 2737X1 as part of HB 487. The amendment clarifies that colleges and employers in Ohio must treat a homeschool diploma as legitimate.

Further information about the legislation can be found here.


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