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VOL. 36 | NO. 24 | Friday, June 15, 2012




Williamson home-school athletes barred from teams

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FRANKLIN (AP) — The Williamson County School Board has voted against allowing home-schooled students to participate in sports on high school teams.

The Tennessean reported (http://tnne.ws/Lip2Es ) that board members discussed the topic for 45 minutes on Monday before voting 8-to-3 against allowing students outside of the county school system to join teams at their area high schools.

The Tennessee Secondary School Athletic Association changed its bylaws to allow home-schooled students to participate in public school sports, provided they meet certain eligibility requirement. But TSSAA bylaws do not supersede local education authorities so school districts still have the ability to restrict students from participating.

Metro Nashville Public School and Sumner County Schools allow home-schooled students in their teams, but Rutherford and Robertson County schools opted out.

Board member Vicki Vogt said it's not in the best interest of the school system to create an "a la carte menu" for home-schooled students.

"I care about the welfare of all children; however, I believe my duty on the school board is to serve the vested interests of Williamson County Schools students," she said.

Overall a little more than 20 home-schooled students in the state participated in school athletic programs during the past school year, said Matthew Gillespie, assistant executive director of the TSSAA.

"It's cracked open the window that much that was completely shut the year before," Gillespie said. "We certainly expect that number to be higher this year."

Parent Cayce Myers, who teaches her children at home, said parents choose home schooling for many reasons, but it seems like punishment to those families to be categorically denied by the county school board.

"The TSSAA has made this option available, and we just wish our county would do it," Myers said. "It would give a sense of goodwill to the entire community."

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