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4/9/2003 4:24:12 PM
Home School Legal Defense Association
Maine--Sports Access Bill Dead, Hope Alive

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From the HSLDA E-lert Service...
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April 9, 2003

Dear HSLDA Members and Friends,

Last week the Education and Cultural Affairs Committee unanimously
voted "Ought Not To Pass" on Legislative Document 687, which would
have allowed homeschooled students to play on private school teams
without fear of the team being disqualified.

Nonetheless, we are optimistic for better things next year. Members
of the committee urged the Maine Principal's Association to meet with
homeschool leaders to try to reach an agreement on this important
issue. This will provide and opportunity to work out details that
will allow homeschool students to play on private school teams. If
no agreement can be reached, we anticipate that the committee will be
willing to take up legislation to address the problem.

BACKGROUND

The Education and Cultural Affairs Committee held its hearing on LD
687 on April 2, 2003. A number of people testified in favor of the
bill, including one of the bill's sponsors, several homeschoolers, Ed
Green of Homeschoolers of Maine, and I.

Dick Durost, Executive Director of the Maine Principal's Association,
who ignited a furor last fall with his memo stating that private
schools risked losing their eligibility if they allowed homeschoolers
to play on their team, testified against the bill. He said that
homeschoolers already had the same opportunity to play sports as
public school students. He did not seem to appreciate the fact that
for reasons of faith, some homeschoolers do not wish to participate
in public school programs. So for them, the opportunity is actually
zero.

In addition, Mr. Durost told the committee that one reason the bill
should not pass is that it would allow students to affiliate with a
school solely for the purpose of athletics. He did not appear to
notice that homeschool students are allowed under law to affiliate
with public schools solely for the purpose of athletics.

Mr. Durost voiced other concerns as well, most of which could be
resolved by the adoption of a reasonable rule.

Thank you for your phone calls! Although the committee did not vote
to advance the bill, it is clear that several committee members heard
your concerns and want to see homeschooled students who want to play
on private school teams treated fairly.

Very truly yours,

Scott A. Woodruff
HSLDA Staff Attorney

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