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‘Tebow Bill’ Dies in Virginia Senate Committee

Virginia will remain among the 21 states that do not give home-schooled children access to play public school sports.

By Paige Baxter, Capital News Service.

A Senate committee Thursday shot down the “Tebow bill” aimed at allowing home-schoolers to participate in public schools’ sports and other extracurricular activities.

The Senate Education and Health Committee defeated House Bill 1442 on a 7-8 vote, taking the matter off the table for this legislative session.

All of the Republicans on the committee voted in favor of HB 1442, except Sen. Harry Blevins (R-Chesapeake), who joined the seven Democratic committee members

The legislation is nicknamed for NFL quarterback Tim Tebow, who as a home-schooler in Florida played football for his local high school team. HB 1442 would have allowed home-schoolers in Virginia to do the same.

Virginia is one of 21 states that do not give home-schoolers access to play public school sports. The remaining states have a policy or law permitting home-schooled students to participate in public school activities and sports.

The committee heard testimony on the bill Thursday morning. Bell brought many home-schooled children, teenagers and even a few college students to testify and show their support.

“All I’m asking you … is to give me simply the opportunity to play sports,” said Eli Marellus, a 14-year-old home-schooler.

Do you think the bill should have been heard by the full Senate? Tell us in the comments below.

How They Voted

Here is how the Senate Education and Health Committee voted Thursday on HB 1442 (“Public school interscholastic programs; participation of students receiving home instruction”).

02/14/13 Senate: Failed to report (defeated) in Education and Health (7-Y 8-N)

YEAS – Martin, Newman, Smith, McWaters, Black, Carrico, Garrett – 7.

NAYS – Saslaw, Lucas, Howell, Blevins, Locke, Barker, Northam, Miller – 8.

Garth Graham February 19, 2013 at 12:30 PM
Good. If you choose to home school your child then your child should NOT be able to enjoy or reap any benefits of the public school system or any of it's activities, including dances as well......
brachch February 19, 2013 at 02:12 PM
Why not let them participate? They pay property taxes which a percentage goes to the schools.
Carolyn February 19, 2013 at 02:20 PM
Home school and private school parents support the public schools through taxes until that changes home school kids should be allowed to take part in any public school class or activity. It is unfair for parents to pay into a system and then be denied the right to benefit from it.
Eileen P February 19, 2013 at 04:06 PM
I'm at a loss as to what the downside is of letting these kids participate, but I'm willing to learn if anyone has any logical arguments...?
Earl Black February 19, 2013 at 06:30 PM
Then they shouldn't have the tax burden either....dumbass Maybe you should have been home schooled,obviously product of public school.
Long time resident February 20, 2013 at 07:31 PM
Yes, parents of home schooled children do pay taxes BUT the amount of money that schools receive from the fedceral and state governments is based on the number of students enrolled so the school would not be receiving any funds for these children, but would incur expenses were they allowed to participate in sports or other extracurricular activities. Based on that, I do not support allowing home schooled children to participate in public school sports/activities.
Eileen P February 21, 2013 at 03:17 PM
Long time resident, while that makes sense, it's incredibly vague. I am curious as to whether the schools get separate funds for athletics than academics. It would seem that if home-schooled children were enrolled in the school's athletics program (they have to be accounted for, lord knows that they would be covered by the school's insurance in these litigious days) then the school would receive funds for that child as if they were enrolled, only they wouldn't be crowding the classroom. Sounds like a win-win. Are those opposed simply averse because there are currently no guidelines as to how to account for an athlete that isn't a student? Is it simply because guidelines need to be changed in order to facilitate a law that requires schools to accept these kids? A few good comments from the McLean Patch article: "Current athletes must meet academic standards, how will the home schoolers satisfy these requirements?" "What about private school kids - their parents pay taxes too, maybe they should also be allowed to try out for the public school team?" "It's my understanding that the "Tebow bill“ would let local school boards decide whether to allow home-schooled students to try out for their local team"
Carolyn February 21, 2013 at 04:24 PM
Long time resident: A Virginia code already allows school boards to permit part-time attendance of children receiving home instruction.....why not extend this to sports? Home-school parents should get something for their tax dollars which happens to be 53.9 cents of every dollar in the City of Manassas. Until there is a deduction for home-school or private school, kids should be able to take part in anything their parents tax dollars are supporting - provided there is space available. In response to "academic standards": Unless the family home-schools under religious exemption, they are required to provide evidence of achievement to the school board. Also, many parents home-school through established programs that provide grading services, testing and report cards.

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