Public Comments for: HB511 - Students who receive home instruction; participation in interscholastic programs.
Last Name: Benton Locality: Fairfax

Please vote to allow homeschooled students access to interscholastic programs in the public schools once again. Years ago when I attended a VA public high school, there was a family in my neighborhood who homeschooled their children. These students did their academic work at home, but they joined us to participate in programs such as marching band, football, swimming and drama. These students were EXTREMELY talented individuals, and our high school student body wholeheartedly welcomed their participation in these programs. As a result of their participation, the quality of our performances was higher, and these homeschooled students had a greater sense of social integration into the community. For some reason, in the past 20 years the state of VA has decided shut homeschoolers out of participation in public high school sports, and this is ridiculous. Because local high schools disallow their participation, these families often end up travelling long distances and paying THOUSANDS of dollars for their children to participate in travel sports programs, private coaching, etc. This is really unfair, since these families also pay state and local taxes to provide for the local high school sports programs that they are not allowed to participate in. Change the law, and let homeschoolers participate in interscholastic programs again. Effective immediately.

Last Name: Wang Locality: Fairfax

This is an important issue for my family. As tax payers, I would like my kids have access to the interscholastic programs regardless whether they receive home instruction or go to public school.

Last Name: Flug Locality: Fairfax County

I'm writing in support of HB 511 to allow local school boards to permit homeschooled students to participate in extracurricular activities at their district schools. We choose to homeschool because that is the environment that our children are best served. Homeschooled students often deal with challenges where on-on-one instruction vastly serves them better than a group class method. However, homeschooling parents are still paying taxes that are used for schools. It is only fair and right that all taxpayers be able to use the services that their taxes are paying for, including sports and extracurricular activities that the public schools provide. Thank you for your consideration.

Last Name: Chu Locality: Centreville, VA

Yes to HB511, homeschoolers should be allowed to participate in inter scholastic programs offered by public schools. As tax payers, our children should have equal access to interscholastic programs that are offered to public schoolers, which includes sports and extracurricular activities.

Last Name: Souders Locality: Suffolk

My husband and I have been homeschooling our three boys since the pandemic. We originally pulled them out of school because we did not want them all virtual every day of the week. We started homeschooling and use a Educational Co-op to help with teaching and ensure they are in some sort of school environment. After a year of doing this, our children thrived in this new style of learning and have gone and above where they were in the Suffolk School system. For instance, their reading, writing, grammar are more refined and light years ahead of where they were in public schools. We desire to stay with this path, but the one thing we desire is for them to be in school sports. They are all in clubs but we all know that to achieve college scholarships and opportunities in sports, they are not as likely unless in the public school sports. We pay taxes just like every other parent in this district and I would like to stand for this bill to allow our children to try out for team sports just like other children. They should be afforded the same opportunities to excel in these areas and should not be penalized because they are getting a education by a different means that is just as beneficial if not more. I agree they need to still go through the same tryouts and have the skills needed for the team just like all students. Thank you for your consideration.

Last Name: Hubbard Locality: Ashland, VA

Good Afternoon, My wife has home schooled our 3 sons for the past several years. Our oldest is in 6th grade and hasn't been able to compete in public school sports as a result of the current rules that are in place. My wife and I both played sports in middle and high schools as well as in college and understand the benefits sports bring to young people. We have been paying taxes to support the public school system for the past 10 years but see no benefits from it due to our decision to home school. Passing this bill would be a great step in allowing all tax paying citizens' children the right to represent their local school and community in public school sports. Thanks for you time

Last Name: Murray Locality: Midlothian

As homeschooling parents, we made the choice to withhold our kids from entering and participating in public school and we should be mindful of that decision. Homeschooling gives our kids an academic freedom that kids in public school will never experience. Our kids finish an entire day of school hours before kids in public school do. Not to mention, many can do their school lessons during any hour of the day on any day. Public school kids have to worry about getting to school on time, being presentable to enter and stay in school, make sure they stay within school rules that they have no say in, attend a certain number of classes and show proof of acceptable grades so they can play school sports. Homeschool kids don’t have to worry about most or or any of those things. To let homeschool students take spots that public school students work so hard for is extremely unfair and a slap in the face to families who can’t afford to keep their kids home. High school students use sports as a gateway to college and much needed college financial assistance. How dare homeschool families take such opportunities away from kids who they purposely make their kids avoid by not letting them attend public school. Homeschool parents often complain about the public school system and how they refuse to let the government teach their kids so why let their kids take space away from kids who actually attend the schools and work hard to stay there? If the schools aren’t good enough for homeschool kids, why should the high school sports teams be? Elementary and middle school sports aren’t anywhere near as popular nor demanding as high school sports. School clubs are about finding like minded peers. Those activities hold no competition so as long as the school has space for extra students, I see no issue of allowing homeschool students to enter in those spaces. High school sports open up a lot of doors for kids in low income families. Allowing homeschool athletes, who have hours beyond hours to practice, take away opportunities from public school athletes who have to fight against the day to get their work load done isn’t fair. If homeschool students want to play on public school teams then they should have to attend a certain number of classes on campus to make the playing fields somewhat even.

Last Name: Heim Locality: Springfield

Please allow homeschooled children to participate in public school extracurricular activities and sports! It will help children feel like they are part of the community and will help with socialization. Also, I think public school bureaucrats want to keep homeschool children out because they want to protect their power structure and retain their monopoly.

Last Name: O'Leary Organization: Locality: Alexandria

I'm writing in support of HB 511 to instruct/allow local school boards to permit home schooling students to participate in extracurricular activities at their district schools. We home schooled our children for 5 years in between their enrollment as ES and HS students.    We were fortunate to be a part of an incredibly diverse and active group of parents and students who had chosen, for a variety of reasons, to craft their own educational path. These are fantastic kids and extraordinarily committed parents.  They defy any stereotypes that some people have about what "homeschoolers" are like.  They were all religions, races, educational philosophies, and pedagogical styles.  They were united in their desire to help their students succeed and to realize their potential.  They were mostly homeowners who realized that they were supporting the public schools with their tax dollars and would have loved to have been able to participate in some of the amazing offerings of the school system.  They just weren't ready to turn away from the being able to offer their children the individualized instruction and support that homeschooling allows. Obviously, enabling homeschoolers to participate in sports and extracurricular activities provides a benefit to the students.  They would get to experience the camaraderie and challenge, the enrichment and support that are the whole reason that all parents so value the richness of extracurricular activities- athletic, social, and academic .  They would not continue to feel isolated and marginalized because they and their parents have chosen a different path.  They would be able to compete on a more level playing field with public and private school students in terms of developing their athletic, music, and leadership abilities and be able to demonstrate their talent when it comes to college admission, scholarships, and job opportunities. But allowing homeschoolers to participate also would benefit the schools and communities.    Homeschoolers naturally isolate from the school community and the important related legislative issues - whether those are taxes, bonds, boosters, fundraising.  They've been excluded through legislation - why would they support or engage in those efforts?  Engaging parents and students in what frankly is the TRUE UNIFYING INSTITUTIONS of the community - sports teams, music performances, theater - the things that all students regardless of academic prowess, backgrounds, or career track can enjoy and excel in  - would go a long way to realizing the true purpose of public education.   And that purpose is not to say, "My way or the highway", but to ensure that all children have opportunities to engage and realize their potential. My daughter graduated from West Potomac High School in Fairfax  last year and is now at UVA.  She was in student government and active in the theater department.  My son is a freshman and plays football and rugby and is on the debate team.  (For him, West Potomac is a football team with a high school attached.) My daughter considered doing a partial enrollment in her 11th and 12th grade years so that she could have more freedom to pursue her interests in Government and writing.  My son would love to have more freedom to pursue electives outside of school.  I would have loved for them to have been able to make those decisions. My wife and I strongly support passing HB511 to remove the barriers for home schooling/independent learning students.

Last Name: Mattox Locality: Bedford

Homeschoolers should be able to participate as athletes in after-school sports. If passed, this bill would truly make a difference in our family. We are shaping the habits of all children and influencing how they contribute to society as adults. Encouraging all children to be involved in teams, cooperating and working together, and being physically active is beneficial to all children. Please vote to finally pass this bill.

Last Name: VanDyke Locality: Montgomery

Home schooled and private schooled kids should be able to participate in public school extra curricular activities and sports. Parents of these kids pay taxes for schools and their kids should have access to and be included in the activities offered by the schools.

Last Name: McGonagle Organization: None Locality: Williamsburg

As citizens who fully pay property taxes and do not use school facilities, it seems the least we could expect is to be able to participate in sports activities within our schools. Denying children an opportunity to socialize and improve their mental and physical health should not be controversial. Thank you.

Last Name: Hoyt Locality: Chesapeake

I wanted to speak on-line but all spots were already taken so I decided to write this. I believe the Tim Tebow bill should be passed. Homeschoolers already pay taxes to support the schools, they just are not allowed to use the schools in the past. Also, students who school at home are part of the community and they can have better relationships with other students in their area by being allowed to participant in extracurricular activities at the local school. I quit my job as a college professor and have homeschooled my children for the past six years. Both of my kids would need an IEP if they went to public school so I feel as if I’m already doing the school system a favor. Many families that homeschool do so for this reason; they have kids with special needs or disabilities and would need help with academic side of things. Many homeschooled students want to share in experiences the clubs and activities/sports offer at public school. Allowing public school and homeschooled students to share in experiences together will help make our communities stronger. I’m sure there are many homeschoolers who wouldn’t want to take part in the activities and sports but there are handful that would love too as well. Please support the Tim Tebow bill and pass it to allow all students access to healthy and enriching programs and sports.

Last Name: Brown Locality: Chesapeake

In an effort to integrate children and families from every educational scenario, it is important to allow homeschool students the opportunity to participate in extracurricular activities like sports. Many parents desire to expose their children to the merits of team sports but restrictions on income or availability of low pressure sports teams put them at a loss. Many families cannot afford to put multiple children in premier sports (club/travel teams) and not all children are committed or talented enough to play at that level. Allowing homeschooled children access to programs is a great resource for families and for schools, who may benefit from the presence of additional parental support.

Last Name: Irwin Locality: Virginia Beach

This is a great opportunity for all children to be able to participate and would fundamentally build the community in such a positive way.

Last Name: Austin Locality: suffolk

I am writing in support to HB 511. I am a mother of 3 public school educated children and believe we will continue to use the public school. As a citizen of Virginia, I believe that the rights to a public education, including extracurricular activities are a right of all individuals of our Commonweath. It baffles me that we even have to have a bill that allows for homeschool children the right to participate in sports in the public school setting just because they have a family that has chosen homeschool for whatever their reason. There are 20 states that allow full participation in school sports and 10 more with varied degrees of participation. I see no reason why Virginia cannot get on board with a simple inclusion. Thank you. Deanna Austin

Last Name: Rife Locality: Norfolk

I would like to offer my support for this bill. I have homeschooled my 11 year old in Norfolk for the past 6 years. Homeschooling is a viable alternative to public schooling and has been a choice that my family gladly makes each school year. My son has academically excelled as a homeschooler. We have no plans to ever utilize public schools for learning purposes. Although he still participates in rec sports, he is quickly approaching an age where many children switch make the switch over to school sports. I have no problem with my tax dollars funding schools and I have never desired state sponsored tuition support, but I do believe that it is only fair that my son have the opportunity to participate in school sports teams as he gets older. There are many opportunities available to serious athletes at the high school level through school sponsored sports activities. My son should not be forced to miss out on these opportunities just because he is educated in a different manner. I think it would be in the best interest to all involved. We are happy to continue homeschooling, as we always have, and public school students would also gain the opportunity for exposure to children from different backgrounds. I have no problem paying for his ability to be involved or to show that he is performing well academically. But really, the real question is, why do we NOT allow these students to participate. 30 states currently do allow homeschoolers to participate in school sports. What is the compelling reason why we shouldn’t, as well?

Last Name: Dunlap Locality: Poquoson

I currently have a high school daughter in public school who plays sports. I’ve seen a HUGE positive impact in her being able to be a part of a team and play for her school in the sport she loves. I also have a 9 year old son who I homeschool. Homeschool is the right decision for him and he is thriving in his education. However, I hate that he looses the opportunity for sports and extra curricular activities with his local friends just because his education looks different. Passing this bill would be huge for kids like him. He is super social and LOVES team activities. I choose to homeschool but strongly believe he should be allowed to participate in other activities. Thank you for considering.

Last Name: Betz Locality: Gloucester

The ability for homeschooled kids to participate in local school sports and activities is beneficial to all parties. Especially upon the coronavirus pandemic, more families are turning to homeschooling as a viable option. While there are a tremendous amount of resources available academically to homeschoolers, activities (particularly sports) that are affordable are harder to come by. We must turn to homeschool-only leagues (which are often undermanned and underparticipated) or travel leagues (which are very expensive, thus often excluding middle/lower earning families from participating at all). We all pay taxes that go to public schools. We would still be subject to the fees associated with participating in said activities. Homeschoolers are an asset to furthering these school programs, not a retraction from them. I urge everyone to consider these points in your voting.

Last Name: Johnson Locality: Virginia Beach

I think homeschool students should be allowed to play sports for their school district.

Last Name: Smith Locality: Virginia Beach

YES on HB511: Students whose parents choose homeschooling as the best fit for their educational needs should not face discrimination pertaining to social and sports extracurricular activities. Schools currently keep the tax allocations per student even when a parent chooses to homeschool. This must change. When it comes to fees for extracurricular activities, home-school students should pay no more than other students for the same clubs, activities or sports involvement.

Last Name: Lott Locality: Loudoun County

Comments Document

Date: January 25th 2022 Document: Public Comment for HB 511 Bill Chief Patron: Delegate Marie March Commentator: Wanda B. Lott, Loudoun County Virginia Position: For the bill Summary of my position: I have supported the attempts throughout the years to pass a bill in Virginia that would allow homeschool students to participate in interscholastic programs in their local school districts and I fully support HB 511 this year. I believe a bill such as this is one of the most important bills that the Virginia General Assembly can pass in regard to education for two main reasons: 1.It will help in correcting the inequalities parents are facing in being able to exercise their fundamental right to make decisions regarding the upbringing and education of their children, as stated in the Virginia code 1-240.1. 2. It will aid in continual educational equality for Black Virginians, as nationwide black families had the largest increase. In April of 2020 3% of black families were homeschooling and by October of 2020 that number had moved to 16% A more detailed explanation of my two reasons is listed in my attachment. Sincerely, Wanda B. Lott .

Last Name: Family Locality: Hampton

HB511 will be life-changing for our family. We have 4 children, all athletes, that stand to lose the ability to compete in sports in middle and high school because we are homeschooled. Athletics are a critical component of my children’s lives and allowing them to participate in public school sports would continue to allow them to be well rounded learners with strong connections to our community. This bill is an investment into the community that cannot be replicated by private clubs. Please vote in support of this bill!

Last Name: Sangster Locality: Virginia Beach

I live in Virginia Beach, VA with my husband and our four children whom we currently homeschool and have for the past 4 years. The evolution of learning today and so many current factors led us to the decision to homeschool. We are grateful for the opportunity and elect to invest many of our family’s resources, both time and money, into this endeavor. I would love to see my children get the opportunity to participate in sports and play with members of our community. I grew up here locally and attended public school. Virginia Beach has several magnet schools. In middle school, I distinctly remember attending the school I was zoned for at volleyball tryouts and then these kids showed up to try out who went to the magnet school because the magnet middle did not have a team of their own. There was confusion and I went home to talk to my parents about it. They explained that these kids live in our district and their parents pay the same taxes to support school so they deserved an equal opportunity to try out and earn a spot on the team. To me, that same logic applies to every homeschooler. The opportunity would mean so much to our kids. My husband and I just had the conversation about NOT making a team and even the life lessons learned there. Humility, responsibility, teamwork - all qualities I think we all want in the next generation of Virginians - why deny a section of your children population a chance?

Last Name: Padilla Locality: Chesterfield County

YES on HB511: Students whose parents choose homeschooling as the best fit for their educational needs should not face discrimination pertaining to social and sports extracurricular activities. Schools currently keep the tax allocations per student even when a parent chooses to homeschool. This must change. When it comes to fees for extracurricular activities, home-school students should pay no more than other students for the same clubs, activities or sports involvement.

Last Name: Bentle Organization: Fairfax Education Assocation Locality: Fairfax, Herndon

I am a teacher in FCPS, and I personally support all of this bills. All of these bills are also part of Virginia Education Association's list of bills to support.

End of Comments