Should homeschooled students be allowed to participate in sports at public schools?
by Larry Chowning
Middlesex County School Board member Richard Shores, the board’s appointed voting member on the Virginia School Board Association (VSBA), voted against a proposal to allow homeschooled students to participate in sports and other extracurricular activities in public schools.
The proposal was defeated by the VSBA, but Shores said the issue is “far from over.”
The VSBA meeting was held in November at Williamsburg. Shores told fellow board members at their December 9 meeting that some representatives at the meeting favored allowing homeschooled students to participate.
Shores said these proponents felt parents of homeschooled children pay taxes, and if they want to be a part of extracurricular programs they should be allowed to participate.
He noted that many homeschooled students are now taking classes online through the public schools. “Several schools in the state are allowing homeschooled students to participate in extracurricular activities if they take their school classes online,” said Shores.
Shores said proponents argue that former NFL quarterback Tim Tebow was homeschooled and his success should be an indication of what can happen when homeschooled students are allowed to play sports in public schools. Tebow won the Heisman Trophy in college and led the Florida Gators to a national championship, and went on to play for the Denver Broncos and New York Jets.
Shores said his reason for voting against allowing homeschooled students to participate in public school athletics was because of the difficulty in determining how homeschooled students are performing academically, and if they are actually academically eligible to play on a school sports team.
“However, this issue is a long ways from being over,” Shores repeated.