While there are teams designed for homeschooled kids in greater Richmond, not all corners of the state have such opportunities. In southwest Virginia, there are fewer teams and fewer facilities to host them, said Del. Marie March, R-Floyd, the bill’s sponsor.
“Where I am from in rural southwest Virginia, we don’t really have options,” March said. “I represent some pretty poor counties.”
There are approximately 35 states that allow homeschooled athletes to play for their high school, March said.
But opponents say there are off-the-field requirements high school athletes must meet that homeschooled kids can’t because of the decentralized nature of learning at home. The Virginia High School League requires athletes take five classes and pass five classes to be eligible, and school districts impose their own GPA minimums. A student who commits a serious behavior issue cannot participate either.
The VHSL, Virginia School Boards Association and Virginia Association of School Superintendents all oppose the bill. Representatives from Henrico and Norfolk schools also spoke Tuesday to voice their disagreement.
If students want the benefits of public school, they have to attend the school, said Kathy Burcher, who spoke on behalf of Norfolk City Public Schools.
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