By Kenric Ward | Watchdog.org Virginia Bureau
RICHMOND — Gov. Bob McDonnell supports legislation to allow homeschooled students the opportunity to play sports at their local public schools.
“The governor believes homeschool student should not be denied the opportunity to take part in these advantages if he or she meets the qualifications,” McDonnell’s press secretary Jeff Caldwell told Watchdog.org in an e-mail Friday.
Sen. Tom Garrett, R-Louisa, filed companion legislation to Delegate Robert Bell‘s bill, which has been dubbed the “Tebow Bill.” NFL quarterback Tim Tebow, who was homeschooled during his high school years in Florida, played football at a public school before going on win championships at the University of Florida.
Legislation that would have opened interscholastic sports to Virginia homeschoolers failed by a single vote in the Senate last year.
Countering concerns that inviting homeschooled students would somehow create an unlevel playing field, Caldwell noted:
“Homeschooled students will be held to the same standard as public-school students. If there are 10 spots on the team, an 11th will not be added –students will compete on merits and talents, playing by the same rules.
“Homeschool families are members of the community and pay the same taxes as families who send their children to public schools.”
Currently, 24 states permit homeschooled students to play sports at public schools.
Contact Kenric Ward at [email protected] or at (571) 319-9824. @Kenricward