Home-schoolers might be allowed to participate
School board considers letting non-enrolled kids play sports, activities
February 04. 2014 1:39PM
The Dell Rapids School Board is eyeing a policy shift that would allow home-schooled children to participate in public school activities.
School district rules adopted in 2006 prohibit students who aren’t enrolled in at least one publicly provided academic course from participating in extracurricular activities like athletics, Future Farmers of America and pep band.
District superintendent Summer Schultz said with more and more parents using alternative education like online courses and homeschooling, the school district ought to review its dual enrollment and eligibility requirements.
“There are some schools around that say you don’t even have to be dual enrolled (to participate). If you are a district resident – even if you are 100 percent home schooled – you can participate in extra curricular activities,” she said. “There are schools that say you have to be enrolled in at least two classes. There are some that say if you aren’t 100 percent our student, you don’t participate.”
Schultz said the South Dakota High School Activities Association gives school boards full control over dual enrollment eligibility.
Board member Matt Weiland said he wasn’t aware that school-aged Dell Rapids School District residents can’t participate in extra curriculars and would like to see a more inclusive policy.
“I was under the impression that homeschoolers in Dell Rapids were able to participate,” he said. “If they’re a resident, they’re paying taxes to the district anyway.”
The board will review policies of other area districts, and revisit the topic at a future board meeting. Board members will also weigh other factors like academic eligibly – maintaining a qualifying grade point average – and code of conduct jurisdictions.
“We have certain eligibility requirements for the kids that are here, so if they’re only here for one class (or less) and that’s the only thing you have to base their eligibility on, you don’t know what (grades) they are getting at home,” said Barb Little, district business manager.
Schultz said any new policy adopted could stipulate various conditions that a dually enrolled or home-schooled student must meet to be eligible for participation.
“Currently, we don’t have anything in our policy that says we have the ability to monitor (grades outside of district courses) for them to participate,” she said.