One East Tennessee school district has decided they won't grant permission for home schools students to participate in public school athletics.
A recent decision from TSSAA allows home schooled students to participate if they host district allows them to. Sevier County School Board Members approved a policy on Monday night which spells out the district's guidelines for handling extracurricular activities including sports.
They said it simply puts the school districts long-time practice into writing. "It has been the practice of the school system for decades that students who participate, or who are eligible to participate in extracurricular activities are those students who are enrolled in the school system. And of course, home school students are not enrolled in the school system. So therefore, they would not be eligible to participate in extracurricular activities, including sports," said Director of Curriculum and Instruction for Sevier County Schools Dr. Debra Cline.
The full policy includes seven guidelines which state,
1. Each extracurricular activity must be under the guidance and direction of a staff member who is a full-time employee of the Sevier County Board of Education.
2. The principal, after obtaining the recommendation of the faculty, will determine which clubs, organizations and athletic programs will be permitted.
3. Each school principal or his/her designee shall supervise extracurricular before or after school hours.
4. Students serving out-of-school suspensions will not be permitted to participate in extracurricular activities during suspension periods.
5. Students must enroll in and attend schools under the supervision and control of the Sevier County Board to be permitted to participate in extracurricular activities.
6. For secondary athletics programs, the Board shall abide by any mandatory roles set-forth by the Tennessee Secondary Schools Athletic Association (TSSAA) and thus instructs that all employees adhere to these rules.
7. For seventh and eighth grade basketball programs, the Board developed BP642 to serve as a guide and will update it as needed.
Knox County Schools has delayed a decision on allowing home schools athletes to participate in that county. Superintendent Jim McIntyre said he needs more time to determine what such a change could mean for students currently enrolled and what it would cost for the district.