published Friday, August 12th, 2011

Home-schooled teen can't play on public school sports teams

David Thompson, 14, stands on the Walker Valley High School football field in Cleveland, Tenn. David, who is home-schooled, has been denied permission to play football with Walker Valley Schools. Last December the TSSAA ruled that home-schooled children are allowed to play in public school athletics.
David Thompson, 14, stands on the Walker Valley High School football field in Cleveland, Tenn. David, who is home-schooled, has been denied permission to play football with Walker Valley Schools. Last December the TSSAA ruled that home-schooled children are allowed to play in public school athletics.
Photo by Jenna Walker.
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CLEVELAND, Tenn.—The Bradley County school board decided Thursday to not change its policy that prevents home-schooled students from trying out for the county's public school athletic teams.

Board member Vicki Beaty made the motion that the board change its policy and allow independent home-schooled students who are registered with the county school system and meet Tennessee Secondary Schools Athletic Association requirements to play in county secondary school athletics.

Beaty's motion was that the change be for one year. Then, she said, the board could evaluate whether to reject or keep the policy change.

The change would have affected only independent home-schooled students and would not have applied to those affiliated with home-school associations.

The motion, seconded by David Kelley and supported by Charlie Rose, failed on a 4-3 vote.

The issue came before the board in a Tuesday work session when one parent asked that his home-schooled son be allowed to play football at Walker Valley High School.

"I believe this is a win-win and not a compromise," Kelley said. "A compromise is when you give up something near and dear to your heart for something."

Kelley said he understands the state may pass a law next year allowing home schooling participation statewide.

On Tuesday board member Christy Critchfield said her concern is accountability by the school that could lead to punishment of an entire team.

"I have a problem changing board policy for one year for one child," Critchfield said Thursday.

Rose said he wrestled with the issue until, like Beaty, he talked with TSSAA. Rose said he understands that if parents and students pass along false information that local teams will not be penalized.

"I have not changed my opinion," said Walker Valley Principal Danny Coggin.

He and the county's three other secondary principals voiced opposition Tuesday.

"We can't make this happen in two days," he said. "I can't sign a form to TSSAA that puts other students in jeopardy if I don't know everything."

Board Chairman Troy Weathers urged the board to support its administrators.

"When you start it, it's here to stay," Weathers told board members.

The board is elected to take care of its 10,098 students that started the year in county schools, he said.

After talking to local legislators, Weathers said he was told there is no push in Nashville for a law allowing home-schooled students to be public school athletes.

about Randall Higgins...

Randall Higgins covers news in Cleveland, Tenn., for the Times Free Press. He started work with the Chattanooga Times in 1977 and joined the staff of the Chattanooga Times Free Press when the Free Press and Times merged in 1999. Randall has covered Southeast Tennessee, Northwest Georgia and Alabama. He now covers Cleveland and Bradley County and the neighboring region. Randall is a Cleveland native. He has bachelor’s degree from Tennessee Technological University. His awards ...

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dao1980 said...

Oh... dang... what a headline.

August 12, 2011 at 2:30 p.m.
Astropig said...

Let him play (if he has the grades). He's a 14 year old.Treat him the way you would like your son or daughter treated.

August 12, 2011 at 2:33 p.m.
user_name said...

Have your cake, or eat it. Take your pick!

Why is it that the public school curriculum is not good enough for this kid, but the public school sports teams are? If the board lets home-schooled kids into public school sports, where does it stop? Next, they'll have to let these kids into the band, cheer leading squad, etc.

August 12, 2011 at 2:50 p.m.
rosebud said...

Yeah, I want the key to Suntrust Bank too. I mean, I don't work there, and I don't want to work there. But I have money in their bank, so they should let me have access to the vault, right? If you want to wear the school jacket, go to class at the school. Duh.

August 12, 2011 at 3:05 p.m.
Astropig said...

"If the board lets home-schooled kids into public school sports, where does it stop? Next, they'll have to let these kids into the band, cheer leading squad, etc."

... Where they will bring a diverse ,fresh , well behaved ,hard work ethic to their teams. Their parents will mix and mingle with public school parents and administrators and bridges of mutual understanding will be built.

Can't have that.

August 12, 2011 at 3:08 p.m.
chattyjill said...

@ astropig: Home-schooling parents choose home school so they don't have to mingle with the public schoolers. They should pray for a football team. Diversity and secularism works for public schools; it's the holier-than-thou that choose to self-segregate and that means sports too.

August 12, 2011 at 3:20 p.m.
Astropig said...

"Home-schooling parents..."

I agree. We should punish this kid and every other kid for what his parents do.That'll show 'em !

By the way ,home school parents choose that for a variety of reasons, not just for the religious angle. Some kids can't behave,and in essence are put out of regular AND alternative school, some kids have special needs that can't be met at school, some kids have medical conditions etc...Some of these parents are doing the schools a giant favor by home schooling. they are assuming the costs and responsibilities that would fall on the school system otherwise.

If they don't get the full benefit of what their taxes pay for,give them their money back.

August 12, 2011 at 3:26 p.m.
chattyjill said...

well i don't have kids so give me my taxes back too.

August 12, 2011 at 3:36 p.m.
rolando said...

Actually, chatty, the reason parents chose to home-school has little to do with religion...and everything to do with educating their children, not indoctrinating them. There is simply no comparing them.

Home-schooled children consistently place above their public-schooled contemporaries in scholastic achievement.

Having said that, sports is an area that has no connection to scholarship; however, it does give the student a chance to physically compete yet learn sportsmanship, and interpersonal behavior...this of value later in life.

August 12, 2011 at 3:40 p.m.
chattcitizen said...

Considering the state of TN has one of the WORST public school systems in the country, i would consider homeschooling my child as well.

Additionally, the childs parents pay taxes to send their child to a school that he doesn't attend, thus saving the state money. At the very least there is absolutely no reason why this athelete should not be entitled to the benefit of the extracurricular activities in the school.

It's not like he has a choice, he can't exactly field his own football team, and if he did TSSAA wouldn't let his team compete against state teams.

Why force kids to commit to a terrible education system just to play ball?

August 12, 2011 at 3:42 p.m.
bbqtycoon said...

The ones who home school because their children have special needs or behavioral issues are not the ones who want to play sports on the public school teams. I agree, that if they want to play on a public school team then they should also have the same issues to face such as homework that is assigned and must be done whether or not they have 2 a day practices and so on because everyone knows that the parents of the home schoolers are going to for go the homework during playing season. So if you want the Letterman Jacket then you have to put in the time under the same conditions that the others do as well!

August 12, 2011 at 3:50 p.m.
Humphrey said...

next thing you know home school kids will want to go to school all day and take classes

August 12, 2011 at 4:03 p.m.
esaletnik said...

chattcitizen said... Considering the state of TN has one of the WORST public school systems in the country, i would consider homeschooling my child as well.

I know several student who have gone to Hamilton County public schools (K-12) and have applied themselves to the extent that they scored over 30 on National ACT tests and were accepted a schools like Vanderbilt. The schools aren't the problem, the majority of the students are. You can lead a horse to water but you can't make them drink. A good education is available in Hamilton County to those that are willing to apply themselves.

August 12, 2011 at 4:16 p.m.
EaTn said...

Point A: home school kids are not enrolled in the school and should not be allowed to participate in their sports.

Counter-point A: home school parents pay taxes that support the school sports programs and their kids are entitled to the sports benefits if they choose.

August 12, 2011 at 4:21 p.m.
HiDef said...

rolando said "Actually, chatty, the reason parents chose to home-school has little to do with religion...and everything to do with educating their children, not indoctrinating them. There is simply no comparing them."

Nice try rolando but roughly 2/3rd's of home schooling parents cite religious reasons as to why they keep their kids at home. Google it. Many studies support this number.

You're right about the indoctrination though. Christians want to keep their kids at home so they can indoctrinate them with "creationism" and shield them from science.

August 12, 2011 at 4:56 p.m.
adolphochs said...

Thank God the Bradley County School Board has saved Walker Valley's football team from having this interloper given the opportunity to try out for their team!

God made the Idiot for practice, and then He made the School Board. Mark Twain

August 12, 2011 at 5:16 p.m.
Yellowbird said...

So a hair splitting issue between a schoolboard and an athletic associate opens the door for yet more criticism of religious liberty.

August 12, 2011 at 5:25 p.m.
reallytruly said...

Worked pretty good for Tim Tebow. Homeschooled all 12 years and played on local public high school team

http://www.timtebowfans.org/tim-tebow-biography.php

August 12, 2011 at 5:56 p.m.
rosebud said...

Let's look at it this way. Lookout Valley High School parents pay taxes, and send their children to that small school. Their children then play football for the Lookout Valley High School team, using the taxpayer-funded LVHS sports facilities. They make do with about 30 players, most years.

So, why don't all you football-hungry home school parents put together a team of home school students, demand a football field, form a booster club, and get some helmets like the other tax-funded organized teams do? I can see it now: Lookout Valley Yellowjackets vs. the Tennessee Home School Hornets. Then everybody would be happy. Right?

August 12, 2011 at 6:46 p.m.
chioK_V said...

... Where they will bring a diverse ,fresh , well behaved ,hard work ethic to their teams

You're just too funny. You are trying to tickle our funny bone, aren't you? Homeschooled children dabble in drugs, drinking alcohol, experiement with sex and dabble in other anti-social behavior exceeding those students who are taught in public school. When are people going to admit that youth are youth and are going to get into mischief like any other youth no matter who they are, where they come from or what type of learning enviornment they're placed in?

August 12, 2011 at 7:06 p.m.
dude_abides said...

Parents fault. There are plenty of individual sports for this kid to play. Motorcycle jousting, trampoline boxing, tazer tag, marathon running with scissors...

August 12, 2011 at 8:43 p.m.
rolando said...

You are right, HiDef, but misleading since you gave no specifics other than the percentage claiming religious reasons, and even they are greatly misleading. Did you read beyond the first sentence or two on the google listing?

Here is the rest of the in a report titled: Homeschooling in the United States: 2003. [Find it at http://nces.ed.gov/pubs2006/homeschool/]

The report states, in part:

"The reason for homeschooling that was most frequently cited as being applicable was concern about the environment of other schools including safety, drugs, or negative peer pressure. Eighty-five percent of homeschooled students were being homeschooled, in part, because of their parents' concern about the environment of other schools. The next two reasons for homeschooling most frequently cited as applicable were to provide religious or moral instruction (72 percent) and dissatisfaction with academic instruction at other schools (68 percent)."

As you can see, hIdEF, your percentage is one of many; there are obviously other categories that overlap concerns parents have with public schools. Religion and moral instruction take fourth and fifth place in the overall concerns listing.

Please note the first sentence: "The...most frequently cited [reasons were] concern about the environment of other schools including safety, drugs, or negative peer pressure."

And strangely enough, home-schoolers rate higher overall in the sciences than the public schoolers. Imagine that -- they must be learning something valuable, ya think?

August 12, 2011 at 9:35 p.m.
rolando said...

chioKV -- Maybe all you say is true, maybe not. Doesn't matter.

What matters is the end result -- the home-schooled kids routinely score higher on national tests than do public-schooled kids.

August 12, 2011 at 9:47 p.m.
Astropig said...

It's obvious that the public school sock puppets on this board are the ones that want this kid to be excluded. They are bitter and jealous that his parents would dare homeschool him and deprive them of their precious federal funds that they could waste in their little system. That's the real issue here.These people would take away an important character building experience because they don't like his parents politics.

Time to sue. Make it expensive for them to exclude a qualified athlete.

August 12, 2011 at 9:56 p.m.
dude_abides said...

Sues ass. They opted out. Done deal. They shouldn't allow that any more than they should let parents home school at will for a month or so. I would have loved that option. "Hey kids, time for deep sea fishing class!"

August 12, 2011 at 10:24 p.m.
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August 12, 2011 at 11:18 p.m.
brokentoe said...

rolando said... What matters is the end result -- the home-schooled kids routinely score higher on national tests than do public-schooled kids.

It's easy to get all the quiestions right when you've been supplied beforehand with the answers. There's no one to oversee children being homeschooled by their parents and guaranteed they're not helping the students, who are their children. Some even doing the work for the children.

August 13, 2011 at 9:47 a.m.
family6 said...

We homeschool our children due to the drugs, language, false teachings on creation, gay teachers, etc.... Plus they asked to be homeschooled due to the way the other children act. You wouldnt believe some of the things 3rd graders say these day! Our taxes help support the sports teams- so if my children or any other homeschooled child wants to play sports that is his or her right. I will fight this with everything in me until this is a law in Tennesse! My child should not be disgriminated against! You can say your comments on how they shouldnt be allowed all you want but in all reality they should! We live in a small town so 1 or 2 homeschooled kids will not take over the team. Also homeschooled kids should have the same chance at a college scholorship as anyone else! Who is to say my children will not want to go to college? Just because your homeschooled doesnt make you 'less' than anyone else. My kids are being taught the word of God - and not being exposed to the 'junk' at the public schools. And being on a sports team they will be around some students but not a whole school 8 hours a day!

May 12, 2012 at 11:18 a.m.
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