Memphis’ Commercial Appeal reports on a bill: Unanimous: Bill allowing home school students to play public school sports passes Tennessee Senate By Richard Locker
The bill, which won approval 31-0 on the Senate floor Monday night, would not guarantee home schoolers a spot on teams but would give them the opportunity to try out for teams as regularly enrolled students. They must also meet the same health, academic and conduct standards required of other participants. The bill is set for House subcommittee review.
State policies seem to be similar across the country. A private entity is allowed “governing authority” for many extra-curricular public school activities. In Tennessee, that group is the Tennessee Secondary School Athletic Association, which adopted a policy giving local schools authority to allow (or disallow) homeschoolers’ participation in these public school activities.
After the 2011 TSSAA policy was adopted, the Commercial Appeal said this was the local reaction:
Memphis City Schools allowed participation but the suburban Shelby County Schools board voted in 2011 not to allow home school students to join its schools’ sports teams. The unified Shelby County Board of Education has not addressed the issue yet as it moves toward merging MCS with SCS.
However, if the bill becomes law, it goes into effect July 1 and provides that it shall apply to participation in extracurricular athletics beginning with the 2013-14 academic year.
Neither the TSSAA or the Tennessee School Boards Association has a complete listing of how many of the state’s 130 or so school districts — some of which do not have high schools — allow home schoolers to participate. TSBA says that when it last surveyed districts two years ago, about one-third of those which responded allowed participation.