Home-schooled children in many states are allowed to participate in sporting events and teams through their local schools. However, this is not the case in Virginia and lawmakers are working to pass what they have called the "Tebow" bill.
This bill was named after Denver Broncos QB Tim Tebow because, as a child, Tebow was home-schooled in Florida. Despite not attending his local high school, he was still allowed to try-out and participate in the school's football program.
There are currently 16 states in the country that allow home-schooled students to play sports through their local schools and Virginia is hoping to become the 17th state. As a parent who has tried home-schooling, I believe that this is fair and that children should be allowed to try-out at their local schools.
As parents of home-schooled children, you still pay the local taxes that support the schools and the sports programs, so there is no reason that your child should not be allowed to participate.
The "Tebow" bill passed the Virginia House on February 8th when delegates voted 59 to 39. The bill will now be sent to the Senate. Gov. Robert F. McDonnell has already stated that should the bill pass, he will sign it.
Opponents of the bill believe that it will hurt public schools and honestly, I can't understand that logic. Home-schooled children still live in the area and, if their parents chose not to home-school, would be attending these local schools. Their tax money is going to support these schools. How is allowing them to try out for a team and represent the school going to hurt the school?
If you really want to talk about hurting the local schools, maybe something needs to be passed where home-schooled parents no longer pay taxes to support the schools but rather pay to create a home-schooled fund. This way all home-schooled students in the state could come together and make their own team. The state estimates there are 32,000 home-schooled students in the state. Now, something like this would hurt the local schools. Letting them try out for sports would not.
Now, Virginia has been trying to get a similar bill passed since it was first introduced in 2005, but have not had any success. They are hoping that with the current Republican-controlled General Assembly they will be able to get it to go through. Of course, adding the name of the now famous QB Tim Tebow to the bill will probably work to its advantage as well.
Deborah Braconnier is a former athlete and avid football fan. She is a freelance writer and Featured Contributor for the NFL and Olympics. She has followed the Denver Broncos since she was a child and can usually be found yelling at the television during football season. Follow her on Twitter at @fwcdeborah.