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Home school student sways school board to amend late policy change

It was only three words, but to one student, they made a big difference.

At Wednesday’s meeting, the school board was responsive to concerns about a recent policy change.

Several people, including one student who had already enrolled in a course at Warren County Career Center, complained about a change that would not allow home school students to enroll in district courses.

The policy was changed in August and took effect this school year.

Josiah Hepler said he learned six days before the start of school that “I and other home schoolers were no longer able to participate” in district classes.

He said he enrolled in the protective services class at the career center for this school year during the 2018-2019 school year. When he had questions about the coming year, “I was told it was simply not going to happen.”

“This is what I’m planning to do for the rest of my life,” Hepler told the board. “I would like to prepare myself as much as possible for the future.”

Josiah’s father, Carl Hepler, also addressed the board.

He explained that his son has a list of steps he intends to take on his way to a career.

“The career center protective services (program) is on this list,” he said. “This was a perfect fit to jump start his career.”

“We should have access to the district’s programs if we choose,” Carl Hepler said. “This policy puts up roadblocks. “This policy holds our son hostage… unless we relinquish our rights to home school.”

Josiah Hepler asked that the board “make an immediate decision” to change the policy and enable students in his situation to participate in the classes they had previously enrolled in.

At the end of the meeting, the board did just that.

Following a motion to add three words to the policy, the five members of the board in attendance voted unanimously to approve the change immediately.

The paragraph outlining exceptions to the policy will now read, with the change set off by ellipses:

“The one exception to this restriction is that a student who was enrolled in… or accepted for… courses at the Warren County Career Center during the 2018/2019 school year, may continue to take courses at the Warren County Career Center, and receive credit for said courses, so long as the student is of ‘school age.'”

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