Virginia state senators on the Education and Health Committee on Thursday killed legislation that could have allowed home-schooled children to participate in the athletics programs at public schools, the Richmond Times-Dispatch reports.
The Virginia High School League has rules that bar home-schooled students from participating in interscholastic competition, but this bill would have made that rule illegal. It was defeated 8-7 by the Republican-controlled committee, even though all seven Democrats voted against it. Republican Sen Harry B Blevins broke party lines and voted against it as well.
Mr Blevins, drawing on 50 years of experience in education and as a coach, told the paper he felt the law would be unfair to students and their families in the public schools who go to great lengths to comply with several rules and regulations. It’s not just about trying out for a team on the basis of athletic ability, he seemed to imply.
And he’s right: Public-school athletes need to maintain certain grade and attendance standards, which home-schooled students wouldn’t, and public-school athletes may be subject to other regulations as well, set by the state high school association or state board of education. For a home-schooled student to just walk onto a team after a tryout, without meeting all those regulations his teammates would have had to live up to over the years, it didn’t seem right.
“You could be the greatest football player on the team, but if you do not show up Friday, you don’t get to play,” the Times-Dispatch quoted him as saying. “This changes all that. … I think a lot of parents don’t think this is something that would be fair to the kids that have gone through the system that they have to go through, and I agree with them.”