J. Michael Smith, Esq.
Michael P. Farris, Esq.
Public School Access for Homeschoolers—A Legal Summary
Home educated students are eligible to participate in the public school’s interscholastic extracurricular activities. Florida Statutes § 1006.15.
Florida Statutes § 1006.15
(1) This section may be cited as the “Craig Dickinson Act.”
(2) Interscholastic extracurricular student activities are an important complement to the academic curriculum. Participation in a comprehensive extracurricular and academic program contributes to student development of the social and intellectual skills necessary to become a well-rounded adult. As used in this section, the term “extracurricular” means any school-authorized or education-related activity occurring during or outside the regular instructional school day.
(3)(a) To be eligible to participate in interscholastic extracurricular student activities, a student must:
1. Maintain a grade point average of 2.0 or above on a 4.0 scale, or its equivalent, in the previous semester or a cumulative grade point average of 2.0 or above on a 4.0 scale, or its equivalent, in the courses required by s.1003.43(1).
2. Execute and fulfill the requirements of an academic performance contract between the student, the district school board, the appropriate governing association, and the student’s parents, if the student’s cumulative grade point average falls below 2.0, or its equivalent, on a 4.0 scale in the courses required by s. 1003.43(1) or, for students who entered the 9th grade prior to the 1997-1998 school year, if the student’s cumulative grade point average falls below 2.0 on a 4.0 scale, or its equivalent, in the courses required by s. 1003.43(1) that are taken after July 1, 1997. At a minimum, the contract must require that the student attend summer school, or its graded equivalent, between grades 9 and 10 or grades 10 and 11, as necessary.
3. Have a cumulative grade point average of 2.0 or above on a 4.0 scale, or its equivalent, in the courses required by s. 1003.43(1) during his or her junior or senior year.
4. Maintain satisfactory conduct and, if a student is convicted of, or is found to have committed, a felony or a delinquent act which would have been a felony if committed by an adult, regardless of whether adjudication is withheld, the student’s participation in interscholastic extracurricular activities is contingent upon established and published district school board policy.
(b) Any student who is exempt from attending a full school day based on rules adopted by the district school board for double session schools or programs, experimental schools, or schools operating under emergency conditions must maintain the grade point average required by this section and pass each class for which he or she is enrolled.
(c) An individual home education student is eligible to participate at the public school to which the student would be assigned according to district school board attendance area policies or which the student could choose to attend pursuant to district or interdistrict controlled open enrollment provisions, or may develop an agreement to participate at a private school, in the interscholastic extracurricular activities of that school, provided the following conditions are met:
1. The home education student must meet the requirements of the home education program pursuant to s. 1002.41.
2. During the period of participation at a school, the home education student must demonstrate educational progress as required in paragraph (b) in all subjects taken in the home education program by a method of evaluation agreed upon by the parent and the school principal which may include: review of the student’s work by a certified teacher chosen by the parent; grades earned through correspondence; grades earned in courses taken at a community college, university, or trade school; standardized test scores above the 35th percentile; or any other method designated in s. 1002.41.
3. The home education student must meet the same residency requirements as other students in the school at which he or she participates.
4. The home education student must meet the same standards of acceptance, behavior, and performance as required of other students in extracurricular activities.
5. The student must register with the school his or her intent to participate in interscholastic extracurricular activities as a representative of the school before the beginning date of the season for the activity in which he or she wishes to participate. A home education student must be able to participate in curricular activities if that is a requirement for an extracurricular activity.
6. A student who transfers from a home education program to a public school before or during the first grading period of the school year is academically eligible to participate in interscholastic extracurricular activities during the first grading period provided the student has a successful evaluation from the previous school year, pursuant to subparagraph 2.
7. Any public school or private school student who has been unable to maintain academic eligibility for participation in interscholastic extracurricular activities is ineligible to participate in such activities as a home education student until the student has successfully completed one grading period in home education pursuant to subparagraph 2. to become eligible to participate as a home education student.
(4) The student standards for participation in interscholastic extracurricular activities must be applied beginning with the student’s first semester of the 9th grade. Each student must meet such other requirements for participation as may be established by the district school board; however, a district school board may not establish requirements for participation in interscholastic extracurricular activities which make participation in such activities less accessible to home education students than to other students. Except as set forth in paragraph (3)(c), evaluation processes or requirements that are placed on home education student participants may not go beyond those that apply under s. 1002.41 to home education students generally.
(5) Any organization or entity that regulates or governs interscholastic extracurricular activities of public schools:
(a) Shall permit home education associations to join as member schools.
(b) Shall not discriminate against any eligible student based on an educational choice of public, nonpublic, or home education.
(6) Public schools are prohibited from membership in any organization or entity which regulates or governs interscholastic extracurricular activities and discriminates against eligible students in public, nonpublic, or home education.
(7) Any insurance provided by school districts for participants in extracurricular activities shall cover the participating home education student. If there is an additional premium for such coverage, the participating home education student shall pay said premium.