J. Michael Smith, Esq.
Michael P. Farris, Esq.
Public School Access for Homeschoolers—A Legal Summary
Superintendents are required to provide homeschool students with access to extracurricular activities at the public school that they would otherwise be assigned to. According to the Ohio High School Athletic Association’s (OHSAA) rules, homeschool students are eligible to participate provided they are enrolled in an OHSAA member school in accordance with the school’s partial enrollment policy.
Homeschool students in 9th-12th grade are also eligible for participation in the Post-Secondary Enrollment Options (PSEO) program. Payments to participating colleges for homeschool students shall be made in the same manner as payments made for participating students from nonpublic secondary schools
Ohio Revised Code § 3313.5312
(A) A student who is receiving home instruction in accordance with division (A)(2) of section 3321.04 of the Revised Code shall be afforded, by the superintendent of the school district in which the student is entitled to attend school under section 3313.64 or 3313.65 of the Revised Code, the opportunity to participate in any extracurricular activity offered at the district school to which the student otherwise would be assigned during that school year. If more than one school operated by the school district serves the student’s grade level, as determined by the district superintendent based on the student’s age and academic performance, the student shall be afforded the opportunity to participate in extracurricular activities at the school to which the student would be assigned by the superintendent under section 3319.01 of the Revised Code. If a student who is afforded the opportunity to participate in extracurricular activities under division (A) of this section wishes to participate in an activity that is offered by the district, the student shall not participate in that activity at another school or school district to which the student is not entitled to attend.
(B) The superintendent of any school district may afford any student who receives home instruction under division (A)(2) of section 3321.04 of the Revised Code, and who is not entitled to attend school in the district under section 3313.64 or 3313.65 of the Revised Code, the opportunity to participate in any extracurricular activity offered by a school of the district, if the district to which the student is entitled to attend does not offer that extracurricular activity.
(C) In order to participate in an extracurricular activity under this section, the student shall be of the appropriate age and grade level, as determined by the superintendent of the district, for the school that offers the extracurricular activity, shall fulfill the same nonacademic and financial requirements as any other participant, and shall fulfill either of the following academic requirements:
(1) If the student received home instruction in the preceding grading period, the student shall meet any academic requirements established by the state board of education for the continuation of home instruction.
(2) If the student did not receive home instruction in the preceding grading period, the student’s academic performance during the preceding grading period shall have met any academic standards for eligibility to participate in the program established by the school district.
(D) Eligibility for a student who leaves a school district mid-year for home instruction shall be determined based on an interim academic assessment issued by the district in which the student was enrolled based on the student’s work while enrolled in that district.
(E) Any student who commences home instruction after the beginning of a school year and who is, at the time home instruction commences, ineligible to participate in an extracurricular activity due to failure to meet academic standards or any other requirements of the district shall not participate in the extracurricular activity under this section until the student meets the academic requirements established by the state board of education for continuation of home instruction as verified by the superintendent of the district. No student under this section shall be eligible to participate in the same semester in which the student was determined ineligible.
(F) No school district shall impose additional rules on a student to participate under this section that do not apply to other students participating in the same extracurricular activity. No district shall impose fees for a student to participate under this section that exceed any fees charged to other students participating in the same extracurricular activity.
(G) No school district, interscholastic conference, or organization that regulates interscholastic conferences or events shall require a student who is eligible to participate in interscholastic extracurricular activities under this section to meet eligibility requirements that conflict with this section.
Ohio Revised Code § 3365.022
(A) Beginning July 1, 2013, a student who has been excused from the compulsory attendance law for the purpose of home instruction under section 3321.04 of the Revised Code, and is the equivalent of a ninth, tenth, eleventh, or twelfth grader may participate in the post-secondary enrollment options program established under this chapter.
(1) If a student meets the criteria established in division (A) of this section and wishes to participate in the post-secondary enrollment options program, the parent or guardian of that student shall notify the department of education by the first day of April prior to the school year in which the student wishes to participate.
(2) For the 2013-2014 school year, the department may accept applications at a later date if that student wishes to participate in the program during the 2013-2014 school year.
(C) Pursuant to rules adopted by the state board of education under section 3365.02 of the Revised Code, payments to a participating college, in which home-instructed students enrolled pursuant to this section, shall be made in the same manner as payments made for participating students from nonpublic secondary schools, pursuant to section 3365.07 of the Revised Code.