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Why HSLDA is Not Opposing the Sports Access Bill, H.B. 857

by Scott Woodruff • April 1, 2019

Home School Legal Defense Association is not opposing House Bill 857, which would allow homeschool students to participate in public school sports.

The bill that moved out of legislative committee on Tuesday.

It has been suggested that the bill will threaten the freedom of all homeschool families if it is enacted. This argument is not supported by any history that we are aware of. Here are some points worth considering.

Iowa homeschoolers have had access to sports for decades. The legislature enacted a major bill in 2013 that dramatically increased homeschool freedom.

Maine homeschoolers have had access to public school sports since 1995. In 2003, the legislature took a big step forward for liberty when it abolished the requirement that families obtaining approval to homeschool.

Idaho homeschoolers have had access to public school sports for decades. In 2009, the legislature significantly improved the homeschool law.

The Arkansas Legislature enacted sports access in 2013. Shortly thereafter they abolished the requirement of year-end testing for homeschoolers.

Wisconsin lawmakers gave homeschoolers the right to play public school sports in 2015, but freedom has not suffered as a result.

Pennsylvania homeschoolers have had access to sports for many years. The legislature later eased the year-end assessment requirement.

In North Dakota, homeschooled children have had a right to participate in public school activities for many years. The legislature eased testing for homeschool students in 2013 and again in 2017.

In the past, other states have proposed public school sports access bills that would disrupt homeschool freedom. HSLDA has opposed these bills because of language that would cause collateral damage. However, some sports access bills—like Missouri’s current proposal—pose no such problem for homeschoolers.

History does not suggest that the homeschool community suffers a reduction in freedom after obtaining the right to access public school sports and activities. HSLDA will continue to evaluate each new sports access bill on its own merits to determine whether it should be opposed.

Scott Woodruff

Senior Counsel

Scott is a seasoned attorney and homeschool advocate with decades of involvement in homeschool legal issues and cases. Read more.

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