Bill opens public school sports to nonpublic studentA new bill would allow private, independent charter, and home-school students to engage in sports and extracurricular activities at public schools.
By: Kristen Durst, Wisconsin Public Radio, Superior Telegram
A new bill would allow private, independent charter, and home-school students to engage in sports and extracurricular activities at public schools.
The Wisconsin Interscholastic Athletics Association (WIAA) writes the rules governing competitive sports at member public and private schools across the state. Its rules only allow students to play sports at the same school they attend full time.
Rep. Jeremy Thiesfeldt (R-Fond du Lac) says his bill would force WIAA – a private organization – to change those rules. “The bill … would just simply prohibit public schools in the state from being involved with an organization that doesn't allow all children within their district … to participate in the athletic programs at the school.”
The bill would also require public school boards to admit charter, private, and home-schooled students into sports and other extracurricular activities in their school. Private and charter school students, however, could only participate in sports that their school doesn't offer.
“Our members’ fundamental rules that were our genesis for forming as an association believe that school teams should be made up of the actual students who attend that school,” says Dave Anderson, the WIAA's executive director.
Anderson didn't want to comment on the legislation yet. Sen. Luther Olsen (R-Ripon) says the state shouldn't get involved with rules made by a private organization.
Similar legislation known as “Tim Tebow bills” that allow home-school students to play on high school teams have passed in roughly half of all U.S. states. Tebow – the famous NFL quarterback – was home schooled but still played on a public high school team.