18-year-old H.S. junior denied enrollment due to age - WKRN News 2

18-year-old H.S. junior denied enrollment due to age

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MURFREESBORO, Tenn. -

Eighteen-year-old Spencer Matthes has big dreams when he graduates from high school.   

"I want to go to college for aviation and then I want to go into the Air Force, but I can't do that without a high school diploma," he said.

Spencer, whose birthday was August 10, was denied enrollment at Blackman High School in Murfreesboro because he is an 18-year-old junior who still needs 10 credits to graduate.

"If [students] are 18 and not on track to graduate or need more than five credits to graduate, they're directed to the adult high school," explained James Evans, Community Relations Coordinator for Rutherford County Schools.

Spencer's mother, Rebecca Galyk told Nashville's News 2 her son is an A and B student and that he was only held back in kindergarten and first grade.

"He's never been in trouble with the law. He has never been in trouble with the school. He's got good grades, he's college bound," she said.

Spencer attended middle school at Blackman Middle before moving to Indiana to help care for his disabled grandfather.

While he was living in Indiana he completed the ninth and tenth grades.

"My dad passed away a week ago this past Monday, so Spencer had to come back home to finish high school," Rebecca explained.

However, when she tried to get her son into the Rutherford County school system she was told he is too old.  

"He wants to get his high school diploma and he is being denied his education," she said.

"The director of schools has given a directive to the principals that if they are not on track to graduate or if they need more than five credits to graduate and they are already 18, they need to go to the adult high school," said Evans.

But Galyk told Nashville's News 2 she tried to get her son into the adult school and faced the same problem.

"They told me point blank his two options are a GED or go back to Indiana," she said.

"A lot of times, you get an 18, 19 or 20 year old in a traditional high school and they are much more at risk of dropping out," said Evans adding, "From past experience that is what has happened."

 "They kept telling me statistically speaking, 18 year olds will drop out two months after they go," said Rebecca.

She said she doesn't think the school system should lump every student into the same group just because of their age.

Spencer said he does not want to settle for a GED because of his desire to attend college and go into the military.

His mother added she has looked into online high school classes which will make it possible for her son to finish high school with a diploma.

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