Home-schooled athletes in limbo | TahoeDailyTribune.com

Home-schooled athletes in limbo

A vote to include home-schooled students in public school athletics was delayed a month by the Douglas County School Board of Trustees.

During a meeting Tuesday night at Kingsbury Middle School, the board heard pleas from numerous parents who tried to pressure passage of the vote without restrictions.

Secondary principals in Douglas County submitted two recommendations to the board. The first would deny home- schooled students the right to participate because they could take away team positions from public school students.

The second recommendation would allow home-schooled students to participate in athletics, but would place restrictions on which sports they could participate in. The sports would be non-cut sports, such as cross country, football, skiing, swimming, tennis, track and wrestling.

Cut sports, meaning sports that can release players prior to the start of the season, include baseball, basketball, golf, soccer, softball and volleyball.

The issue came before the board after the Nevada Interscholastic Activities Association reversed its ban earlier this year that prevented home-schooled students from participating in school district athletics. The association agreed to allow school districts to set their own policies regarding home-schooled student athletic participation.

The board appeared poised to pass the second recommendation with an amendment to remove restrictions so home-schooled students could play in all sanctioned sports.

Home-schooled students would fall under the same guidelines and requirements as high school students, such as grade fulfillment, physicals and insurance.

Currently there are 57 home-schooled students in the county. Twenty-one are freshmen, according to Roy Casey, assistant superintendent.

Perhaps the greatest eye-opener came from Julie Armstrong, a home-school teacher, who pointed out the goals, beliefs and commitments of Douglas County School District.

“We talk about tolerance of alternative lifestyles and that’s what we’re talking about right now,” Armstrong said.

One goal states “other cultures, the environment and world issues will be included in curriculum and instruction. One line in the commitment category reads “acts of prejudice, discrimination … will not be tolerated.”

Board member Keith Roman, a former basketball and baseball coach, encouraged the passage of inclusion but stressed parents had the responsibility to report grades accurately and on a timely basis.

“I really have a strong feeling extracurricular activities provide nothing but a positive experience for kids and I really think these kids living in Douglas County are the same kids going to Douglas High School,” Roman said. “Our strategic plan does not differentiate on kids. To say we should have a certain group of sports home-schoolers can participate in and can’t participate in goes right into the strategic plan.”

Board members George Echan, James Keegan, John Louritt and David Brady wanted more information on what other school districts are doing.

Cheri Johnson questioned the recommendation, saying the issue involves equality. Johnson provided an example of teachers speaking to coaches if student-athletes acted up in class and the possible penalty that coaches could impose on their players.

Johnson believed coaches wouldn’t know about behavior problems with home-schooled students. By denying home-schooled students the right to play sports, Johnson said the district could possibly get those children back into the district.

The board will vote on the issue on Dec. 10 at Douglas High School.

Support Local Journalism

Support Local Journalism

Readers around the Lake Tahoe Basin and beyond make the Tahoe Tribune's work possible. Your financial contribution supports our efforts to deliver quality, locally relevant journalism.

Now more than ever, your support is critical to help us keep our community informed about the evolving coronavirus pandemic and the impact it is having locally. Every contribution, however large or small, will make a difference.

Your donation will help us continue to cover COVID-19 and our other vital local news.

Start a dialogue, stay on topic and be civil.
If you don't follow the rules, your comment may be deleted.

User Legend: iconModerator iconTrusted User