I am happy to report that I had several folks contact me as a result of the the article posted regarding the apparent recent discriminatory practices of the Harford County Sheriff’s Office in not hiring those who graduate from Christian High Schools.
Having been an attorney for the FOP for several years and continuing to represent police officers from across the State I was happy to hear from at least one officer, a friend, who called to tell me that he had graduated from a Christian School and was hired by the Harford County Sheriff’s Office, albeit in the 1990’s. So now I have confirmation that at least at one time the Harford County Sheriff’s Office was hiring graduates from Christian High Schools. This begs the question when did this policy stop and why?
I am sure that at some point the Sheriff will now show us a list of employees who graduated from Christian High Schools. What we will want to see is the list of recent hires who are graduates of Christian or parochial High Schools. What also we want to see is the list of all those who applied and were rejected because their school was not a public high school.
Since I was told by the executive director of the MPCTC that this policy is also being applied to Home Schooled students, how many of them have been hired or rejected.
While we know that Christian High School graduates were being hired over a decade ago, we don’t know when this new policy started.
Supporting the theory that the policy of rejecting Christian High School students is more recent, are the circumstances of another rejected Christian School graduate who applied for a job as a deputy with the Harford County Sheriff’s Office and contacted my office yesterday.
This Harford County deputy candidate, “passed the written and physical test and moved onto background review.” This candidate graduated from Open Bible Christian Academy. He had also taken about 20 credit hours of courses at Harford Community College but was told since he graduated from Open Bible Christian Academy that his degree “didn’t count”.
This young man was told get a GED. He applied for his GED and received a letter back from the State of Maryland, Department of Labor, Licensing and Regulation informing the young man that he could not take a GED test because he already had a high school diploma.
He was then told he would need to contact the Maryland Board of Education to see if they would approve his curriculum. When he complied, he was told by the lady at the Board of Education, its not really their job to review the curriculum. At that point the young man explains, he gave up his dream to be a Sheriff’s deputy.
I checked with the Board of Education today, they confirmed that the Open Bible Christian Academy has its “certificate of approval”.
I called and spoke to the Headmaster at Open Bible Christian Academy and was given their State assigned number showing they have the “certificate of approval.”
So we now know that at least one Sheriff’s Department in the State is prohibiting at least one otherwise qualified graduate from a qualified Christian high school from being able to serve as deputy sheriff.
How many others are Sheriff departments or other police departments are implementing these discriminatory rules? How many other young men or women have been refused employment with a law enforcement agency, whether the Harford County Sheriff’s Office or some other agency?
When was this policy first implemented? Where does this interpretation come from?
The COMAR regulation 12.04.01.04, which applies to the education requirements does not seem to limit in any way the acceptance of Christian High School Diplomas.
(1) An applicant for the position of police officer shall possess a:
(a) High school diploma issued by a high school or recognized by the State Board of Education; or
(b) General Education Development (GED) certificate or diploma:
(i) Issued by Maryland or another state, or
(ii) Recognized by the State Board of Education.
(2) The law enforcement agency may accept a college degree in place of the requirements under §C(1) of this regulation.
(3) In the absence of a copy of a diploma, an agency head may accept a certified transcript indicating that an applicant successfully completed the requirements for graduation from a high school or college.
(4) An agency head shall maintain a copy of the appropriate diploma or other acceptable documentation.
(5) If a GED test was taken outside Maryland or while in the military service, and no certificate or diploma has been issued by a state:
(a) An applicant shall submit a copy of the GED test scores to the agency head; and
(b) The test results may be accepted by the Commission if they are consistent with the requirements established by the State Board of Education.
Where does the refusal to accept the Open Bible Christian Academy diplomas come from? Hopefully, once we are able to ascertain that, we can eliminate this discriminatory practice.