Too Young?

When Florida student Anastasia Megan, completed her state’s required high-school courses through homeschooling, she tried to enroll at Lake-Sumter Community College to continue her education. Her application was rejected. It wasn’t that LSCC objected to the homeschooling, however. The problem was that Megan was 13 years old. According to an article by Martin Comas in the Orlando Sentinel:

But the college gave a firm thumbs down, saying Anastasia — who also goes by Annie — is not ready to sit side by side with older students, most of them adults. Undeterred, her parents have filed an age-discrimination complaint against the college with the U.S. Department of Education’s Office for Civil Rights.

LSCC President Charles Mojock said it’s a not a matter of discrimination and cited ambiguous safety concerns, explaining that,

“Anyone basically can walk onto our campus,” Mojock said. “So we’ve got a very different environment [than a high school]. … And we have many adult students having adult conversations on adult topics and that may or may not be suitable for some young students.”

This, of course, is ridiculous. If the school is safe enough for a 19 year old, or an 80 year old, it’s safe enough for Megan. Going to college is just a matter of learning academic material. You don’t have to be any particular age to start college, or high school, or anything.

Thomas Jefferson started college when he was 16. William Henry Harrison was 14. Ronan Farrow, the son of Mia Farrow and Woody Allen, famously started college at age 11.

This is not the first time that this sort of thing has happened. Children who wish to attend college before they’re reached 18 have trouble finding schools willing to educate them. This is not because the students aren’t academically prepared, but because the schools are wary of potential legal responsibilities.

Daniel Luzer

Daniel Luzer is the news editor at Governing Magazine and former web editor of the Washington Monthly. Find him on Twitter: @Daniel_Luzer