Originally Sent: 7/15/2015

From the HSLDA e-lert service…
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Sports Access Moving Forward

Homeschooling in Wisconsin.

Thanks for defending homeschool freedom!

Senior Counsel Scott Woodruff answers questions and assists members with legal issues in your state. He and his wife homeschooled their children.

Dear HSLDA Members and Friends:

Wade Labecki, deputy director of the Wisconsin Interscholastic Athletic Association (WIAA), surprisingly stated on WSAU radio recently that even with the enactment of the budget bill, homeschoolers cannot play on public school sports teams because WIAA rules require that athletes be enrolled full time in the school for which they are competing.

The heart of the access law (which the governor did not veto) is contained in the new Wisconsin statute 118.133(1)(a). It says:

“A school board shall permit a pupil who resides in the school district and is enrolled in a home-based private educational program to participate in interscholastic athletics in the school district on the same basis and to the same extent that it permits pupils enrolled in the school district to participate.”

Because the legislature used the word “shall” (it’s an order!) your right to sports access is on a firm foundation in Wisconsin.

I’m confident that once Labecki and the WIAA receive appropriate legal advice, they will change the WIAA rules to conform to state law which mandates that public schools allow homeschoolers to participate in sports and other extracurricular activities.

The governor vetoed a small portion of the sports access measure that was non-essential. The material he vetoed (section 118.133(1)(c)) said:

“A school district may not be a member of an athletic association unless the association requires member school districts to comply with par. (a) [quoted above].”

The removal of this language by veto in no way undercuts the right of homeschool student to play on public school sports teams. It merely means that public schools have the same ability as before to join various associations. But it goes without saying that school systems should not remain in an association the rules of which require them to violate state law.

Yesterday the Wisconsin Legislative Council issued a memo confirming that the rules of the WIAA do not trump state law, and that public schools must grant homeschoolers access to public school sports. You can read the memo here. I have faxed a letter to Labecki urging WIAA to promptly change its rules to conform to state law. You can see a copy of my letter here.

We have already assisted one family in filing a request to participate in their local school’s fall football program. We are available to provide guidance to any other HSLDA member family seeking access to a public school sports team.

HSLDA and Wisconsin Christian Home Educators Association are united in supporting the rights of parents who wish to exercise their rights under the new law.


Scott Woodruff
HSLDA Senior Counsel

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