RICHMOND, VA (WWBT) – It's a proposal that's stirring up heated debate. A Virginia delegate is pushing to pass a bill that would allow home schooled children to play sports in public schools.
It's a privilege for student athletes to be a part of a school team, but homeschoolers don't get the same opportunity. That's something Delegate Rob Bell is working to change.
"We do hear that they would love to continue to play with their friends so these are their neighbors, these are kids they've played with up to 8th grade suddenly 9th grade, they can't do it anymore," Bell said.
The rules are: students will have to be home schooled for at least two years, have passed all academic tests before being eligible to try out for their local school sports team.
The bill didn't pass for several years, but is gaining some popularity this time around. It's nicknamed the "Tim Tebow Law" - because Bell says the Broncos quarterback was home schooled.
"That's pure coincidence. Of course, everyone's been watching Tim's through his college sports. He's had a very successful run at the pro's that just happens to be the moment we're bring the same moment the governor says he's for it so everybody's been calling it the Tim Tebow Bill because when he was in homeschooled in Florida, he had access to a program like this. Home school kid went to play high school was very successful. We just like that for Virginia homeschoolers too," he said.
But not all agree this is fair. The Virginia High School League that represents hundreds of public school athletic programs in Virginia including 34 in the Richmond metro area say there would be a clear displacement issue for public school students.
"If someone is a public school student, has gone to school all their life and met the requirements and now are the 15th member of the basket ball team and here comes a home school student bumps them off the team, how fair is that," said Ken Tilley with the Virginia High School League.
Despite the opposition, Delegate Bell thinks he has a chance of passing this bill. It's already passed in an education subcommittee. If this bill turns into law...it could go into effect by next school year.
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