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4/9/2008 5:04:31 PM
Home School Legal Defense Association
Louisiana: Bill to Allow Participation in Public School Activities

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From the HSLDA E-lert Service...
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April 9, 2008

Louisiana: Bill to Allow Participation in Public School
Extracurricular Activities

Dear HSLDA Members and Friends:

House Bill 871 will be heard in the House Education Committee tomorrow
at 9 a.m. This bill would allow students enrolled in a home study
program approved by the State Board of Elementary and Secondary
Education to participate in interscholastic extracurricular activities
at their local public school.

Under H.B. 871, in order for a student to participate in these
extracurricular activities, they would be required to meet all
standards and requirements, including academic standards, applicable
to a public school student participating in the activity. A home study
student would only be able to participate in the local public school
they would attend if they were enrolled in the public school, and they
would have to obtain the approval of the principal of that school to
participate.

If you are interested in this legislation, the following information
is provided to enable you to contact the House Education Committee
members. HSLDA takes a neutral position on this legislation.

ACTION SUGGESTED:

You may contact each of the House Education Committee members listed
here: http://house.louisiana.gov/H_Cmtes/H_CMTE_ED.asp , to request
that they vote in favor of House Bill 871. To contact the committee
members simply select their name from the above link and their email
address and contact information will be found directly under their
picture.

BACKGROUND:

Over a dozen states currently require public schools to allow
homeschoolers access to classes or sports. These include Arizona,
Colorado, Florida, Idaho, Iowa, Maine, Michigan, Minnesota, New
Hampshire, North Dakota, Oregon, Utah, Vermont and Washington. In both
Arizona and Oregon, the law only requires school districts to allow
access to "interscholastic" activities. Yet the effect of the laws in
these two states generally allows homeschoolers to participate in any
activities they choose.

Despite these laws, equal access to homeschoolers is not offered
without some strings attached. Although specific requirements vary
from state to state, homeschool students can typically participate in
public school programs ONLY if certain requirements are met. First,
the student must be in compliance with the state homeschool law.
Second, the student must meet the same eligibility requirements as a
public school student. Finally, the state requires the student to
verify that he or she is passing his or her core subjects.
Consequently, the homeschooler may be required to provide achievement
test scores or periodic academic reports, even if the state's
homeschool statute does not otherwise require them.

Do parents have the right to choose the amount of public education
their children receive? Although the courts have said "no," the state
legislatures are beginning to say "yes." Courts do not find any
"right" for homeschoolers to receive access to government funded
educational services. State legislators, however, seem open to
allowing homeschoolers the privilege of access to public school
activities.

Part of the reason for this trend is financial. School districts in
some areas are beginning to feel a decrease in funds due to the
increasing number of students leaving public schools for private and
home education. Schools may try to compete with private education by
luring those students back with sports and academic classes, in order
to regain at least partial funding for those students.

The access trend is not without potential hazards. Access supporters
must remember to guard the right of parents to remain free from
extraneous government regulation when they receive no government
services. Despite both legal and political controversies, opening
access to homeschoolers appears to be a growing trend.

For more information on equal access, please see our memorandum at
http://www.hslda.org/docs/nche/000000/00000049.asp

Sincerely,

Thomas J. Schmidt
HSLDA Staff Attorney

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at
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