Originally Sent: 12/18/2013
|From the HSLDA e-lert service|
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Senior Counsel Scott Woodruff answers questions and assists members with legal issues in your state. He and his wife homeschooled their children.
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Dear HSLDA Members and Friends:
On December 16, the New Jersey Senate Education Committee voted unanimously in favor of a bill, S3043, that would give homeschooled students a right to try out for public school sports. The student would have to follow the same requirements as others, show that he is receiving academically equivalent instruction, and show that he is academically qualified.
The committee amended the bill to make it clear that school districts do not need to provide transportation or make special accommodations for homeschooled participants.
The companion bill in the Assembly, A3421, received a unanimous favorable vote in the Assembly Education Committee on November 19, 2012. The unanimous votes in both committees suggest that the bills are not controversial.
HSLDA remains neutral on the bills.
During this week’s hearing, a person representing public school principals and superintendents remarked that it could be difficult to determine if homeschool athletes are academically qualified because homeschool students are not required to notify the school district, provide attendance data, take state tests, or provide curriculum information.
One committee member’s response included this comment: “I appreciate your concern; I just wonder if this is the bill where we should be discussing those issues about homeschooling. I understand what you’re saying, but I think it’s an issue that probably is larger than this legislation, so I’m wondering if we could discuss it at some other point. I see this bill as just, there are those children that just really want to play sports.”
We have no reason to believe that the committee member intends to do anything harmful to homeschool freedom. But it is a reminder that it is important to watch these bills carefully in case any lawmaker seeks to attach an amendment that would hurt homeschool freedom.
Scott A. Woodruff, Esq.
Home School Legal Defense Association
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