Homeschoolers in Wisconsin will soon be able to participate in public school sports, thanks to a new measure recently signed into law by Governor Scott Walker.
Previously, homeschooled students in Wisconsin were not allowed to play on public school sports teams. But Scott Woodruff of the Home School Legal Defense Association says the new law allows them to try out for teams at public schools.
“I think for many folks who were initially opposed to it, it was almost kind of a turf issue,” he says. “People thought, Okay, homeschool students might be part of our community, but they don’t attend this public school, so they can’t be on the team even though their parents fund the program through their tax dollars."
He says Governor Walker did veto a small section of the bill prohibiting school districts from being members of athletic associations that do not require member districts to comply with the law. That veto led to some confusion about what the law actually says.
“The necessary part of the bill was in paragraph A, where it says that a school board shall permit a homeschooled student to participate in sports,” the attorney explains. “So the part the governor vetoed was nonessential, but a couple of organizations misunderstood his veto and publicly said homeschoolers can’t play sports, which of course is wrong, and that created a lot of confusion.”
Wisconsin is now the 31st state to allow homeschoolers to play on public school teams.