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1/27/2010 2:50:20 PM
Home School Legal Defense Association
Louisiana: High School Athletic Association Vote to Allow Access to Sports

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From the HSLDA E-lert Service...
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January 27, 2010

Louisiana: High School Athletic
Association Vote to Allow Access to Sports

Dear HSLDA Members and Friends:

Beginning today the Louisiana High School Athletic Association (LHSAA)
will hold its annual convention. At the 2010 convention LHSAA member
schools will be voting on proposed changes to the bylaws and rules of
the Association. Two of these proposals could have an impact on
homeschool students and their ability to participate in
interscholastic athletics.

Item No. 4 on the agenda would amend Rule 1.31 of the LHSAA bylaws to
allow home study students the ability to participate in
interscholastic sports. According to the proposed rule change, home
study students would have to notify a member school within the
attendance zone that they live in within the first 11 days for the
school year in order to be eligible to participate in athletics. The
principal would have to approve of the student's participation.

However, item No. 5 on the agenda would amend the very same rule, Rule
1.31, to state that home school students would be ineligible to
participate in interscholastic athletics. Currently the only way a
home study student can participate is if he or she is enrolled in a
LHSAA member school and his or her grades are transferred and recorded
on the student's official school transcript. They basically have to be
satellite students of that school.

Depending on how the LHSAA member schools vote for these proposals,
home study students could become eligible to participate in
interscholastic athletics at their local school or they could be
determined to be ineligible to participate.

This information is provided to inform our members and friends of
issues that could impact homeschooling in Louisiana. HSLDA, as an
organization, is neutral on the issue of participation in public
school activities, including interscholastic athletics.

ACTION SUGGESTED:

Due to our neutral position, HSLDA does not have any action to
suggest. However, if you are interested in this issue, the contact
information for the LHSAA Executive Committee can be found at:
http://www.lhsaa.org/executive_committee.php . We understand that
Senator Jody Amedee is no longer on the Committee.


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 and some high school athletic associations 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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