On Nov. 9, the New Jersey State Interscholastic Athletic Association (NJSIAA) amended its bylaws to make it clear that a board of education could, at its discretion, allow homeschooled children to compete in interscholastic sports, provided both the school and the student comply with new NJSIAA guidelines. The Dec. 20 online edition of School Board Notes contained a 30-Second Survey asking about permitting homeschooled students to participate in such activities.
Split Opinion Few districts indicated that they had a policy permitting homeschooled children to participate in interscholastic sports – which is not surprising, since the NJSIAA’s change was recent.
When the 30-Second Survey asked if readers favored allowing homeschool students to participate in interscholastic sports, opinion was divided. While nearly 47 percent of respondents favored such a policy, 42 percent opposed it. Slightly more than 11 percent were undecided.
Homeschoolers and Extracurriculars The survey asked readers whether their district permits homeschooled students to participate in non-athletic extracurricular activities such as clubs, music or performing arts activities. Slightly more than half of respondents said their districts do not have such a policy, and 7.8 percent said yes (the remainder were not sure). Several respondents noted that their districts had never had a request to permit a homeschooled student to participate; therefore, the district had not considered such a policy.
Selected comments about allowing homeschooled children to participate in interscholastic high school sports:
Parents who make the decision to homeschool have opted out of the public school system, so they should no more be able to have their children participate in interscholastic sports than children who go to private or religious schools.
Since homeschooled students are residents of the community and their parents support our schools, I believe that they should be allowed to participate in sports and co-curriculars.
I feel it would be very difficult to ensure that homeschooled students will meet academic and student conduct requirements. (Who's going to pay someone to monitor their eligibility?)
I would favor this if it was clear that it would not be extended later to private school students. I could see a huge problem if we were to allow this, and then had students from local parochial schools want to participate because our program in "X" sport was stronger, or because they could not make the team at the parochial school. There are no clear guarantees of this.
I am vehemently opposed to it. Let them form their own "Homeschool Team."
Although it is important to encourage exercise and team sports, this would open the door to all non-public school students in the community, including private school students. The school is responsible for students participating in these activities and not being part of the district would put an extra burden on the district as a whole.
If indeed athletics are extracurricular, then it seems paradoxical that youngsters would be able to participate in the extra part of the curriculum while not responsible for the academic rigor of the curriculum. Further, this situation could deny enrolled students from participating in the athletic opportunity by virtue of limited spaces. The doctrine of fairness would be abridged in this case.
The problem is that, although the NJSIAA & the New Jersey Department of Education have produced recommended guidelines for participation, there is no real way to determine number of credits & semesters so the other NJSIAA rules of eligibility are met. I believe this will be an administrative nightmare for public schools.
It is a simple matter of equity to allow homeschooler participation. Since they are entitled to full district services, logically they are entitled to partial or selected services. The NJSIAA Guidelines on participation in high school sports are fair and reasonable.
I do not see a problem with this participation as long as all the guidelines are followed.
These parents pay taxes toward the school like everyone else in the township and just because they don't use the school for education should not prohibit them from participating in other school functions. The only issue would be liability, since the children would not be registered as students in the school – that's a question for the school attorney.
Verifying that the academic/behavioral criteria for eligibility in any extracurricular activity, including sports, is adding more work to an already stretched-thin administrative team.
I support homeschooling but am not sure of having them participate in interscholastic sports. They have made a decision about education and that has far-reaching implications. It isn't about picking and choosing which piece they like or don't.
I am in favor of allowing homeschooled students to participate in interscholastic sports as long as they are proficient in the courses in which district students are required to achieve.
Since it is not possible to accurately verify that a homeschooled student is meeting the same eligibility criteria as in-house students, I do not support allowing them to participate. We have neither the time nor the resources to investigate a potential home-schooler/athlete for compliance. An important justification for extra-curricular activities is to build school pride and collective responsibility that carry over to other areas such as community service and academics. A family that chooses to homeschool has rejected the public school as an unacceptable agent for educating and socializing their children, which contravenes the sentiment that such activities are trying to encourage.
There needs to be academic responsibilities for students to be allowed the privilege of playing sports. It is uncertain if homeschooling would have this.
Homeschooled students are entitled to a thorough & efficient education and if a district believes that a T&E program includes sports for its students, it should recognize the need to allow homeschooled students to participate, as they obviously can't run a program of their own (as a private school might).
The parents are taxpayers within the community and therefore have every right to expect their children the opportunity to participate in interscholastic sports.
They're being homeschooled because their parents want nothing to do with the public schools or the students attending them. Let them form their own teams and clubs. If public schools are not good enough for their child to attend then as far as I'm concerned they're not good enough for their child to participate in the sports programs, or any school activities. I feel the same way toward those whose children attend parochial school. The teams compete as "school teams,” so only those who attend the school should be allowed to participate.
Why not? If we allow those who go to the technical school, then we should allow the ones who are homeschooled.