January 25, 2011
A bill introduced in the House of Delegates to allow home-schooled students the opportunity to try out for and play on public school athletics teams was tabled Monday.
Delegate Rob Bell (R-Albemarle) introduced the bill. His office said the piece of legislation, "was taken under advisement to be studied for a year."
Over the summer, a group of committee members will study the issue, which elicits passionate arguments from parents of home-schooled students and advocates on one side and parents of public school students and the Virginia High School League on the other.
January 23, 2011
Ethan Keyser is your typical 15-year-old boy. He's a homeschooled ninth-grader who wants to play sports.
That, though, is harder than it seems.
"I'm just looking for a chance for homeschoolers to try out on a high school team," Keyser said.
Del. Rob Bell introduced a bill in the House of Delegates that would allow homeschooled students to participate in public school athletics.
"We just want the chance to compete for whatever spots there are," said Matt Keyser, Ethan's dad.
It's a controversial proposal that has many athletic directors throughout the commonwealth objecting, including Fitzgerald Barnes, the head of athletics at Monticello High School.
"When you make the decision to homeschool your kids, there are a lot of different other things that go with that decision," Barnes said. "Being part of a public school high school team is one of those things you don't get."
Opponents say the standards for homeschoolers aren't as enforced as those in public schools.
"If they don't meet the academic requirements, they can't play," Barnes said.
The Keysers disagree. Ethan has been homeschooled since the first grade. His three siblings also follow a rigorous curriculum at home.
"We're registered with the county and we do all the things the county asks for us to do academically," Ethan's mom, Kirsten, said.
The Keysers are taking their fight to Richmond, but there may be a bigger fight at home.
"We're all about kids, but we're also about kids having the same opportunities," Barnes said. "If they're going to be able to play high school sports, they should follow the same requirements that high school athletes follow."
Meanwhile, Ethan is hoping Virginia lawmakers take his side.
"It would just be nice to know I have an equal chance of getting on," Ethan said. "And if I don't get on, it's not because I wasn't qualified to play on a team. It's not because I couldn't try out."
The Keysers will be in Richmond Monday, testifying before delegates about the law. They say if nothing else, the experience is a learning tool for their kids of how government works.
The comments sections of Newsplex.com are designed for thoughtful, intelligent conversation and debate. We want to hear from our viewers, but we only ask that you use your best judgment. E-mail is required, but will not be displayed with comment.
As a host Newsplex.com welcomes a wide spectrum of opinions. However this is a site that we host. We have a responsibility to all our readers to try to keep our comment section fair and decent. For that reason The Newsplex reserves the right to not post or to remove any comment.
If you have any ideas to improve the conversation or this section let us know. Send an e-mail to email@example.com.
powered by Disqus