Notice to Parents: Regarding Non-Selection to NHS or NJHS
Notice to Parents: Regarding Non-Selection to NHS or NJHS or other Procedural Complaints Against a Chapter
Each year, NHS and NJHS chapters undertake a process to select new members. Inevitably, some student candidates are not selected. Parents, in an effort to understand this non-selection, often contact the national office. While the national office is willing and able to confer with parents regarding the disappointing news of non-selection, we are limited as to how we can respond. Additional information about general policies and procedures for the Honor Societies is found elsewhere on this website (www.nhs.us), and specifically in Article VIII, Section 5 and Article X, Section 7 of the National Constitution (see “Constitutions and Governance” button on the left).
While for most chapters there is no formal appeals process required for non-selection unless a local chapter decides to create one, in an effort to provide direction to parents, we offer the following steps for contesting the non-selection of your child, if that is the course of action you wish to pursue:
1. Consult first with the chapter adviser. Your first inquiry should always be with the faculty member assigned to serve as the adviser (or sponsor) of the chapter at your school. This individual facilitates the selection process (but does not vote) and may be able to clarify the nature of the selection process or the decisions that were made regarding your student. The adviser can also inform you whether or not there exists a formal appeals process for your concerns based on local chapter guidelines.
2. Appeal to the principal. Should the response from the adviser be insufficient or unsatisfactory, the next step is to take your concern to the building principal, or other administrator assigned to respond to Honor Society inquiries.
Please note: As stated above, there is no formal appeals process for non-selection outlined in nor mandated by the national guidelines. This is based in great part on the condition that membership in the Honor Society is a privilege and not a right, and as such, no due process is required for an appeal. We ask chapter advisers and principals to listen to concerns of parents or students and offer a professional and courteous response per existing school, school system, or state policies affecting such interactions.
It should be noted that nothing prohibits a local chapter from establishing a formal appeals process for cases of non-selection. The national office can assist chapter advisers in creating such a process upon request.
3. Additional appeals. Once the principal has “ruled” on your appeal, this action is viewed as an administrative decision that can be appealed to the next level of the school hierarchy—in public schools this usually means the superintendent or someone in the central office assigned by the superintendent to hear such cases; in private/nonpublic schools, this often means going to the school’s board of directors.
The national office does not hear appeals of non-selection or discipline of individual students.
This prohibition is mandated by the national constitution, due primarily to the inability to fully and accurately understand all of the facts in such cases in a manner that would be fair to all involved. The national office can, however, respond to specific evidence that a chapter is not functioning according to the policies and procedures outlined in the national constitution.
Parents who allege such violations can submit their concerns in writing to the national office in which they a) include a copy of the local policy or procedure in question, and b) provide a signed letter indicating the nature of the allegation. As a matter of fairness to chapters in the field, we cannot and will not respond to anonymous complaints.
Upon receipt of such complaints regarding policies and procedures, the national office endeavors to contact the school to seek its interpretation of the facts in the case. Parents can expect a copy of their correspondence to be shared with the local chapter, and as such, are advised to avoid including any unfounded allegations or rumors in their correspondence. The goal of the communication by the national office with the local chapter is to first clarify the school’s position in terms of the allegation(s), and to work together to bring the chapter into full compliance with the national guidelines in the event that a procedural or policy error is identified. These interactions can take weeks or months to complete to assure that a careful review and plan of implementation are fully and professionally developed for the chapter.
NHS and NJHS Complaint Form and Procedures