Kansas considering whether homeschool students should be able to play school sports

Opponents of the bill say it undermines academics, while those in favor want a fair chance for their child to experience a chance at normalcy with sports.
Published: Jan. 26, 2023 at 5:27 AM CST|Updated: Jan. 26, 2023 at 2:52 PM CST
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KANSAS (KCTV) - Kansas lawmakers are discussing whether homeschooled and virtual-learning students should be allowed to participate in KSHSAA-regulated athletic activities.

Opponents of the bill say it undermines the academic side of things. Those in favor want a fair chance for their child to experience a chance at normalcy with extracurricular activities.

Half of the states in the U.S. already allow homeschooled and virtual-learning students to take part in school sports.

Lawmakers on the K-12 Education Budget Committee heard from parents and educators Wednesday afternoon. The bill would technically authorize non-public and part-time public-school students to participate in any activities regulated by KSHSAA. Non-public means students enrolled in any alternatives to traditional, public-funded education.

Local school districts and KSHSAA would be prohibited from creating policies to stop students from playing – but they could require those students to pay any fees or enroll in specific classes required for public school students.

A parent of a part-time student John Eck told the committee Wednesday, “HB 2030 ensures that the needs and best interests of the students will be the priority. HB 2030 ensures that taxpaying parents and their children have the ability and freedom to make decisions that are best for them.”

Executive director of KSHSAA Bill Faflick said the organization and 759 member schools believe it undermines the goal of concurrently promoting activity participation and academics. KSHSAA requires students meet six eligibility standards – scholarship and academics, enrollment, age, semester attendance, citizenship, and transfer status.

Faflick said it provides accountability at the base level promoting students toward positive academics, behaviors, and culture.

“We hope that you will consider that fundamental difference of accreditation and the basis by which it the substance of learning for the students in our programs and the link it provides to keeping kids accountable to learn and grow through activity participation,” he said.

The bill has failed in the past, but it’s back again at the statehouse. The committee is expecting to work on this before it potentially goes to the House.