By Karen Skelton, VaHomeschoolers Government Affairs Director
Virginia’s General Assembly just passed an interscholastic activities bill for the third year in a row. This bill allows school divisions a local option for homeschooled high school students to have an opportunity to try out for team sports or other competitive activities as arranged by the private organization VHSL (Virginia High School League). Despite the bill passing three times now, homeschoolers may not try out or be part of a team, all because of a veto by the governor. The VHSL is again urging the governor to veto. He needs to hear from other voices that support allowing homeschoolers an opportunity to play.
You do not have to be a homeschooling family to have a say in this matter: families who are not affected directly by this rule continue to support passage of this bill as a matter of equity for homeschoolers in general. According to a 2014 poll conducted by Virginia Commonwealth University, 72% of Virginia residents polled favored allowing students who are homeschooled to participate on local public school sports teams. So please urge your friends and neighbors to contact the governor’s office, because having non-homeschoolers support this bill is just as important. They can also remind him that 22 other states allow sports access without problems.
Action is needed now. The General Assembly has already sent the bill to Gov. McAuliffe. It is on his desk and he has until this Friday, Feb. 24th to take action. So please urge your friends and neighbors to contact the governor’s office to express your support of HB1578, the sports access bill. The homeschooled athletes without a team will thank you.
If you have any questions or concerns about this legislation, or any other legislative issue, please contact VaHomeschoolers’ Director of Government Affairs, Karen Skelton, at GovtAffairs.