Equal Access to Interscholastic Activities
In 2012 South Carolina granted equal access to home school students to public school interscholastic activities. This law allows home school students as well as students from the Governor’s schools and charter schools to participate in interscholastic activities of the school district in which they reside.
This is a law that has been long fought for by the home school community. Now that it is in place we have a responsibility to make sure that we
1) Understand what the law grants us AND what is doesn’t. (It grants us access but not a guaranteed place in any sport or other activity that requires try outs.)
2) Do the research necessary to find out the rules and regulations that apply to any student (public or home schooled) before we contact anyone about participating
3) Represent the home schooling community by being polite and understanding as we all work together to get the necessary forms and procedures in place.
Please read the following information carefully – then reread it to make sure you did not miss anything!
IT IS VITALLY IMPORTANT THAT WE HANDLE THE TRANSITION PERIOD
WITH GRACE AND PATIENCE.
For those of you who are interested in S149--the Equal Access or Tim Tebow bill--this is the current status. Please be aware that, while the primary concern is for athletics, this new law covers ALL extracurricular activities from second grade up.
1. Please download a copy of the law ( http://www.scstatehouse.gov/sess119_2011-2012/bills/149.htm ) so that you can read it for yourself and know what it says. Unlike many laws, this one is quite simple and straightforward.
2. Please understand that this is new ground for everyone. It is a work in progress and we all need to be very patient with each other, especially during this first year as both sides work through compliance.
3. Please remember that many of the schools still don't understand all that is involved with this law. The best place to ask questions concerning athletics is at the High School Athletic League office. You can find information about them at www.schsl.org. Just send an email with your specific question.
4. Please remember there are requirements for every sport that include preseason training sessions. Please know the schedule for the sport you are interested in participating in. Those dates are listed on the SCHSL website also. You cannot expect to walk in the first of October to play basketball if everyone else has been working out since early summer. The process of notification of preseason workouts and the actual try out dates for each sport are the sole responsibility of the parent and athlete. Often times they are posted on the school’s website. Better yet, email or call the Athletic Directors or coach.
5. Please understand that there are forms that need to be filled out. These are normal forms that everyone no matter where they attend school is required to fill out. You MUST fill out an Intent to Participate form. This form is located on the SC High School League website (listed above), each county’s website and on the PHEA website (EqualAccessForm1.pdf). This form must be in the hands of the respective county superintendent BEFORE the beginning date of each sport. Parents should expect that home schooled students should be treated just as any other student. We are not seeking special treatment. Therefore, please do not take these forms as a personal affront. Having a cooperative attitude will go a long way in making this work while both parties work through compliance and transition issues. While the High School Athletic League will have a basic form, each county could develop its' own forms. It would be best to check your particular county. The form for Greenville County can also be accessed from the county’s website (Greenville county sports form.pdf).
6. In order to assure legal verification and academic eligibility to participate in extracurricular activities, parents must request a letter from their accountability group stating the student is legally home schooled in the state of SC. The accountability group will respond to the public schools request by providing this information on accountability group letter head and signed by the head of the accountability group. This letter will verify that the student was legally homeschooled in SC for at least a year prior to the request. Parents must also ensure academic eligibility by presenting a grade report form to the school. A sample grade reporting form is included on www.Palmettofamily.org site. You do not have to use this but it may help in your communication with district AD’s.
There is still some discussion on how the verification of eligibility will occur. Right now it appears that when the family submits the Intent to Participate form, the county will contact the home school association for verification of registration and that it will be the responsibility of the parents to provide the records for grades and attendance.
We are working with several groups to provide standard forms for these records to make it easier for both the parents and the school districts. As soon as they are available, we will post them on our website.