Debate continues over where home school athletes should play - NBC12 - Richmond, VA News

Debate continues over where home school athletes should play

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RICHMOND, VA (WWBT) -

A Virginia lawmaker says it's time to take another look at why students who are home schooled cannot play sports at their local schools. Delegate Robert bell of Charlottesville has proposed legislation the past few years to change the law. Each time, it failed.

No one will argue sports help build character and promote teamwork. It's why Bell says there shouldn't be isolation when it comes to athletes who are home schooled.

In Virginia, to compete in sports at a local high school, you must attend that school. 18-year-old athlete Teddy Bachert is home schooled and he likes it that way.

"We get to learn things on our own perspective. The government would control what we would learn. We just get to learn things at the perspective that we want," he said.

Since he loves baseball, he had to come to the Central Virginia Home School Athletic Association to show his moves.

"We play teams ranging from North Carolina to sometimes northern Virginia. We play private schools, some public schools, other home school teams," he said. 

Bachert says he prefers playing with the team, rather than with a public school.

Delegate Robert Bell wants home schooled athletes to have the option.

"There are 29 states that allow home schoolers to participate at the local high school. They can play sports. There are other extra curriculars they can do. We want Virginia to be one of those states," Bell said.

He's filed House Bill 1442 for consideration this legislative session.

"If you're complying with the law and you live in the school district, if the school wants you and if your parents want you to go, we'll let you go," Bell says explaining his proposal.

He believes it evens the playing field making sure all students have access to the same resources.

Bachert says it's an idea that would have to grow on him.

"If we allowed the government to get involved in our athletic system, it would also be allowed to enter into our academic system," he said.

Last year, Bell says the proposal made it out of the House but failed in the Senate due to one vote. He's hoping this time, it will make it to the Governor's desk.

A representative from the Home Educator's Association of Virginia says that group is neutral concerning the proposal, not for or against making changes. But the Organization of Virginia Homeschoolers has a different stance, saying it supports the measure especially since in less populated areas of the state, there are far fewer opportunities for home schooled students to get involved with sports outside of public schools.

In the past the Virginia High School League has opposed the measure saying the addition of home-schoolers could make it harder for public school students to play on their own school teams. NBC 12 reached out to the league again, but hasn't heard back yet.

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