Move Bills A3678-2015 and S2175-2015 to the Floor!
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Presently, New York state law is ambiguous in its discussion of homeschoolers’ participation in intramural or interscholastic sports. The portion of the law most often cited in barring homeschooled students from participation in sports is Section 135.4(c)(7)(ii)(b)(2) which states:
A pupil shall be eligible for interschool competition in a sport during a semester, provided that he is a bona fide student, enrolled during the first 15 school days of such semester, is registered in the equivalent of three regular courses, is meeting the physical education requirement, and has been in regular attendance 80 percent of the school time, bona fide absence caused by personal illness excepted.
Bona fide is defined in the statute as:
a regularly enrolled student who is taking sufficient subjects to make an aggregate amount of three courses and who satisfies the physical education requirement.
It seems arguable that a homeschooled student who is in compliance with current New York state laws governing homeschooling, is already, by this definition, a bona fide student. In the state of New York, homeschooled students are required to enroll through their home districts and their status is designated as "home educated." They are required to submit an annual plan, quarterly reports, yearly assessments, standardized testing scores, and often other documentation to the district so that the progress of each home educated pupil can be tracked.
In addition to already being enrolled students, homeschool families pay taxes, some of which go toward funding interscholastic and extracurricular sporting activities, provided for the health and education of community children, from which, they are largely banned from participating.
Aside from the social and physical benefits sports can provide, they often come with fiscal ones. Teens, hoping to enter college, may need the scholarship funding available to excelling athletes that is difficult, if not impossible, to attain outside the competitive realm of interscholastic sports. The small number of community-sponsored sports opportunities available to homeschoolers typically cost money, don't offer real competition to advanced athletes, and don't exist beyond the elementary school years.
New York State Assembly bill A3678-2015 and New York State Senate Bill S2175-2015 would prohibit school districts from disallowing homeschooled students from participating in district interscholastic sports. This would be a big step in the direction of equal access, by supporting the rights of school children, regardless of the ways in which their educational needs are met.
Sign this petition to let both the state Assembly and Senate know that it is time to move these bills from committee to the floor!
For more information, visit https://lethomeschoolersplay.wordpress.com. This site also contains opportunities to email Assembly and Senate leaders to more directly encourage them to get this bill moving!
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