J. Michael Smith, Esq.
Michael P. Farris, Esq.
Public School Access for Homeschoolers—A Legal Summary
Homeschoolers do not have a statutory right to access public school classes or extracurriculars. On November 9, 2011, however, the New Jersey State Interscholastic Athletic Association (NJSIAA) amended their bylaws to make it clear that local school districts may allow homeschool students to compete in interscholastic sports, provided the student (1) resides in the district for which he is playing, (2) obtains approval from his local school board and principal, (3) demonstrates that he is academically qualified and is receiving an equivalent education, and (4) complies with all requirements imposed on other members of the team. (See page 75 of the NJSIAA Constitution, Bylaws, Rules, and Regulations.)
Similarly, the New Jersey Department of Education’s website states that local boards of education may allow homeschool students “to participate in curricular and extra-curricular activities or sports activities.” (See question 10 of the Department of Education’s FAQs.)
In practice, public schools rarely allow homeschoolers to participate.
If a public school allows private school students to come onto public school property to receive special education services, they must provide the same access to homeschool students. Forstrom v. Byrne, 775 A.2d 65 (N.J. Sup. Ct. App. Div. 2001).
For more information on public school access, see HSLDA’s Issues Library and HSLDA’s State Laws Concerning Participation of Homeschool Students in Public School Activities.
Updated July 14, 2017