House Bill 1578: Empowers Public Schools to Allow Home Instruction Students to Participate in Interscholastic Programs, Including Sports


Last Updated: July 3, 2017
House Bill 1578: Empowers Public Schools to Allow Home Instruction Students to Participate in Interscholastic Programs, Including Sports
Rep. Robert B. Bell

For many years, the Virginia High School League has fought tooth and nail to keep homeschool students out of public school sports. If a public school wanted to let a homeschooler play, VHSL would threaten them with sanctions.

HB 1578 forbids Virginia public schools from joining (or staying in) any organization that treats homeschoolers this way. If it passes, VHSL must change its discriminatory policy, or it will soon find it has no members and no money.

Homeschool students would need to comply with applicable rules, policies, academic progress, etc. This bill would not require school boards to let homeschoolers play. They would still have the option of enforcing their own local policy of excluding homeschoolers. But at least the policy would not be mandated by the sports league.

HSLDA's Position:

Many states already give homeschoolers the right to play on public school teams, and it seems to function quite smoothly. HSLDA does not generally advocate for bills that would give homeschoolers new rights to participate in public school activities. We are, however, active in defending homeschoolers’ participation rights that are already clearly established under law.

Action Requested:
None at this time

01/02/17 House: Prefiled and ordered printed; offered 01/11/17 17102346D
01/02/17 House: Referred to Committee on Education
01/18/17 House: Reported from Education (14-Y 7-N)
01/19/17 House: Read first time
01/20/17 House: Passed by for the day
01/23/17 House: Read second time and engrossed
01/24/17 House: Read third time and passed House (60-Y 38-N)
01/24/17 House: VOTE: PASSAGE (60-Y 38-N)
01/25/17 Senate: Constitutional reading dispensed
01/25/17 Senate: Referred to Committee on Education and Health
02/09/17 Senate: Reported from Education and Health (9-Y 6-N)
02/10/17 Senate: Constitutional reading dispensed (39-Y 0-N)
02/13/17 Senate: Read third time
02/13/17 Senate: Passed Senate (22-Y 18-N)
02/15/17 House: Enrolled
02/15/17 House: Bill text as passed House and Senate (HB1578ER)
02/15/17 House: Signed by Speaker
02/17/17 Senate: Signed by President
02/17/17 House: Enrolled Bill communicated to Governor on 2/17/17
02/17/17 Governor: Governor's Action Deadline Midnight, February 24, 2017
02/20/17 Governor: Vetoed by Governor
02/22/17 House: Passed by until Wednesday, April 5, 2017
04/05/17 House: Placed on Calendar
04/05/17 House: House sustained Governor's veto (61-Y 39-N)
04/05/17 House: VOTE: OVERRIDE GOVERNOR'S VETO (61-Y 39-N)
04/05/17 House: (67 affirmative votes required to override)
The House failed to override the Governor's veto and the bill died.

 Other Resources

Bill Text

Bill History