JEFFERSON CITY — A bill heard in the house on Tuesday would allow home school students to participate in activities sponsored by a statewide activities association for the public school district in they reside.
Bill sponsor Representative Dirk Deaton, R-Noel, said home school students should have the same opportunity as those enrolled in public school. He said home school students who participate or seek to participate are subject to the same registration, age limit, fees, insurance, transportation, physical condition, qualifications, responsibilities, event schedules, standards of behavior, and performance requirements as enrolled students.
"Its about having the choice and the opportunity to seek these activities," Deaton said. "Home school students their families, their parents continue to pay property tax dollars, personal income tax, much of which go to their local school district."
Deaton said he was home schooled from sixth grade up until the completion of his education and said playing sports was no longer an option when leaving public school.
"It's something that affected me personally," he said. "It's something I pay attention to as other families around the state look to have the opportunity."
He said it makes it hard on families who have children who want to play because some families have expressed to him that they have to turn to Amateur Athletic Unions, which are costly and sometimes too far away to get to.
In order to make sure the home school student is keeping up with requirements for participating in activities, the person who provides home school instruction to the student must certify that the student is receiving a passing grade in each course and is maintaining satisfactory advancement.
"They [home school students] wouldn't be receiving any special treatment," Deaton said.
Deaton said the association can't prohibit a home school student from participating according to state law.
While Deaton pushed for opportunity, the organization Families for Home Education rallied in the Capitol Rotunda for home school freedom on Tuesday.
Therese Duncan is a mother of three homeschooling her children and she says she doesn't want to feel restricted doing so.
"I think there are some people who don't quite understand what home schooling is or what it's really about or the reasons that go into it," she said.
Duncan said she would like to see changes in how home school is monitored because home school families follow curriculum too.