According to the Smith Mountain Eagle, the Virginia House of Delegates has voted 56-43 to allow home-school students to play sports at local public schools. HB1442, known as the “Tebow” bill, would bar public schools from joining any organization governing interscholastic programs that would prevent various students from joining, including those who are home-schooled, those who have shown progress for two consecutive years, those who are younger than 19, or those who are playing for no compensation other than the enjoyment of the sport. The bill does allow the students to be charged a fee for participation.
Delegate Robert B. Bell, who is sponsoring the bill, believes it is a matter of fairness to home schooled students. He said, “The students are complying with all the rules that Virginia sets out for them – their parents are paying taxes and all they’re asking for is an opportunity to try out.”
Delegate Daun S. Hester, however, voted against the bill. “When parents make a choice for the education of their children, they understand the rules that go with that, and participating in public school activities is not one of those options as a homeschooled child,” she said. “That change only opens the door for further changes.”
Representatives from the Virginia High School League, the Virginia Education Association, the Virginia PTA, and the Virginia School Boards Association have spoken against the bill in the past. Legislation related to the “Tebow” bill is pending in the Senate.
Source: Smith Mountain Eagle, 2/1/13, By Abby Kloppenburg
[In April 2009, Legal Clips summarized an article in the Mobile Press-Register, which reported that an Alabama Senate committee had defeated a bill that would have allowed home-schoolers to participate in extracurricular activities. The legislation, sponsored by state Senator Hank Erwin, would have allowed home schooled students to play sports and other activities sponsored by a public school. The April 2009 article is available to COSA members on NSBA's website.]