Each year, National Honor Society (NHS) chapters undertake a process to select new members, and inevitably, some student candidates are not selected. For most NHS chapters, there is no formal appeals process required for nonselection, unless a local chapter decides to create one. Additionally, the NHS national office does not hear appeals of selection decisions.

The NHS national office is always willing and able to confer with parents regarding the disappointing news of nonselection, and offers the following steps for those parents who decide to actively contest the nonselection of their student.

Step 1: Consult 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 is a formal appeals process.

Step 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 school’s principal or another administrator assigned to respond to Honor Society inquiries. Each principal has the authority to hear appeals, and may limit those appeals to procedural or technical issues found in the selection process.

Step 3: Take additional actions.
Once the principal or other administrator assigned to respond to Honor Society inquiries has officially ruled on your appeal, this action is often 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. Note: These procedures will vary at the local level, and appeals for non-selection are not mandated by the national office.

The NHS national office can only respond to specific evidence that a chapter is not functioning according to the policies and procedures outlined in the NHS National Constitution. Parents who allege such violations can submit their concerns in writing to the national office by providing a printed copy of the local policy or procedure in question and a signed letter indicating the nature of the allegation. The national office will then contact the school to seek its interpretation of the facts in the case, and, in the event that a procedural or policy error is identified, will work with the school to ensure that its chapter is brought into full compliance with national guidelines.

How to file a complaint