Law lets home schoolers compete in sports

May. 16, 2013 @ 11:03 PM

A new law requiring all Tennessee school systems to allow home school students participation in local public school sports teams topped the agenda at Monday’s school board meeting.

Two years ago, the Tennessee Secondary School Athletic Association adopted a policy that gave local school systems autonomy in deciding whether home school students would be allowed participation.

TSSAA is the governing authority for middle and high school athletics in the state. Under TSSAA policy, Sevier County Schools opted not to include home schooled students participation in interscholastic athletics.

Chris McCarty, attorney for Sevier County Schools, advised board members that excluding home schoolers from participation in athletics is no longer an option. There was no motion related to the issue.

The bill, which passed unanimously at the end of April, does not ensure home schoolers spots on teams, but it gives them the same opportunity to try out as those students enrolled in public school.

Any home school student in the county wishing to participate in school athletics must register for the sport in August.

Due to the county’s open enrollment policy, home school students may try out for participation in any grade appropriate Sevier County School. However, students who make the team will not be allowed to transfer mid-season, McCarty noted.

“The bottom line is that home schoolers must be treated like any other student in the school system,” McCarty said.

In other action, the board approved:

  • An extension of the director’s contract
  • Maternity and medical leaves
  • A bid to obtain bread and grain products through Flowers Baking Company of Morristown, and cleaning supplies and products through Strategic and Ecolab
  • Use of schools, specifically summer art classes at Pigeon Forge Primary, free tutoring at New Center, basketball practice at Sevierville Middle, basketball camps and baseball at New Center, dance practice at Gatlinburg Pittman High School, and a karate tournament at Pigeon Forge High School
  • Local consolidated application for federal funding for Individuals with Disabilities Education Act and Elementary and Secondary Education Act (Title I, II, III, IV)
  • Notification of teachers not rehired, all of whom were filling interim positions

jfrye@themountainpress.com