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Brick School Officials to Decide if Home-Schooled Students Can Compete on School Teams

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Soccer ball. (Photo: BusyBrain/ Flickr)
Soccer ball. (Photo: BusyBrain/ Flickr)

In a controversial 2011 decision, the governing body of New Jersey’s high school sports program decided – in a reversal of longtime policy – that local school districts could choose to allow home-schooled students to play on public school sports teams. After two changes in policy, Brick school officials will now have to actively decide on a new policy that addresses the topic.

The 2011 decision kicked off a debate in towns across the state. Parents who home-school their children said their tax money supports the school system and their kids should be able to have an equal athletic experience to their neighbors. Opponents have argued that home-schooled students are not part of the school community, and should not occupy positions on teams that would have otherwise gone to matriculating students. School officials struggled, as well, with questions over whether district insurance policies covered home-schooled students, and how to assess nine in-depth academic criteria that are required to be met before a home-schooled student can legally play.

Brick, under then-superintendent Walter Hrycenko, initially allowed students to play. But in 2015, the district updated its policy manual. During a time when a dozen or more policies were being updated at once – sometimes prompting concern from board members who served – the new policy left out guidance on home-school students’ eligibility. Superintendents have since not allowed the practice, however two principals still operated under the former policy and allowed home-schooled students to play. Now, after the discrepancy recently came to light, Board of Education members will review the issue – again – and make a determination that will require a policy vote.

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The issue is one officials are struggling to decide upon.

“They are not technically district students,” said Interim Superintendent Dennis Filippone, making it difficult to comply with the New Jersey State Interscholastic Athletic Association criteria for eligibility.

If a player is found not to be eligible, teams risk forfeiting wins or even championships, raising the stakes on the issue, one school official said confidentially.

The issue spurred two parents who home-school their children to speak at a recent Board of Education meeting, pleading for their students to be able to participate.

Filippone said the vast majority of New Jersey school districts do not allow home-schooled children to participate in district athletics due to concerns over insurance, liability and compliance with the NJSIAA policies. But he is keeping an open mind and discussing the issue with board members, who will ultimately decide.

“We’ve already reached out to some board members,” Filippone said. “They’re willing to sit down and discuss it.”

Should home-schooled students be able to participate in public school athletic programs?

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  • Kimberleely

    Why not? They should be able to enjoy all after school activities, after all their parents to pay school taxes!!!

    • Let’s Roll

      The senior citizens in Greenbriar and Lions Head pay school taxes, should they be allowed to play on Brick High school sports teams?

      • Mary Ellen McCandless Ryder

        If they’re somehow under the age of 19, and haven’t graduated from high school yet… sure.

      • Let’s Roll

        Thats agism! Your bias against old people is showing.

      • Mary Ellen McCandless Ryder

        LOL! Nope, them’s the rules. Gotta be under 19 yo to play HS sports.

  • Mary Ellen McCandless Ryder

    Absolutely! Their parents pay school taxes and yet do not reap any rewards for that. Our schools, our teams, our students, and the homeschooled students ALL benefit from having the homeschooled kids participate. It’s a win-win all around!

    • Let’s Roll

      Its lose lose for the student who doesnt play because a homeschooler is on the team.

      • Let Homeschoolers Play

        This is a fallacy with no evidence – doesn’t happen. There aren’t legions of homeschoolers waiting in the wings to take over school teams. And by the way, these kids are friends and neighbors with the kids that are on the teams. In rare cases if a child sits on the bench or ‘doesn’t make the team,’ it makes no difference whether the other student that bumped them is public schooled or homeschooled.

      • Mary Ellen McCandless Ryder

        Then that kid needs to practice more, and work harder, so that he or she doesn’t lose his/her spot on the team. A homeschooled kid being on the team shouldn’t make any difference.

      • Let’s Roll

        The homeschooled kid needs to attend public school so he can play sports.

  • Nan

    There is no guarantee of Sports. The mandate is to educate1st – 12. Many of us grew up in a family of limited income. Contrary to the belief or practice of having envelops or similar pockets into which they divided their, usually take home pay. A portion Housing, utilities (gas, electric, telephone), a portion for the weeks food, perhaps necessary clothing and then there might have been a small portion left over for goodies.

    I knew a woman who would be one Good Humor off the truck and then share it among five children. Many attended Catholic schools because of the dedication of men and women in Religious Orders who did not get a monetary paycheck. Originally they grades K-8 were free.

    There were Boy Scouts and Girl Scouts for which these schools provided free meeting space. Mothers and fathers were the Leaders. No organized sports but we were out on the street under the watchful eyes of our Mothers (collectively, who had the authority because of the respect for elders which was drilled into us) if they scolded us we would never run tell our parents. Likewise, we would not have the courage to accuse a teacher of reprimanding us even if with some corporal emphasis. We knew if we did our parents would apply much more emphasis. Should we succeed in printing a case which might case reasonable it was our fault, our parents had the following response, “that’s for the time I didn’t ’t or don’t catch you.”

    We were safe playing out on our block or around the corner. We were safe walking to the nearby park where there were swings, seesaws, monkey bars and yes areas to play ball.

    Get organized sports out of the 1-12 schools. Don’t give me it makes for a well rounded student. Let the teacher occasionally have the students stand and exercise their muscles standing by their desks.

    Let those greedy pols and corporate dogs fund sports programs for every child, the homeless the developmentally disabled and those physically challenged. If it is done on school property it must accept every child within an age group.

  • Devin Kelly

    I just don’t understand why this even has to be an issue. First of all, I see all the comments about how the parents pay taxes, and that is completely true and should be the main reason why students should be able to participate. Also, it’s just common decency to let a student do what he/she loves. If the student wants to participate in a team building, fun, hard, gritty activity, the student should have the the opportunity to.

    • Let’s Roll

      There are plenty of non school leagues and sports for home schoolers to play in.

      • Let Homeschoolers Play

        Not true. There are some, but in NJ they are small, and not as well funded/competitive as public school leagues.

    • Let’s Roll

      Devin Kelly is name of Texas church killer.

  • Let Homeschoolers Play

    For the child’s sake and the betterment of the community, it is never appropriate to deny a child an opportunity for enrichment, competition, growth and involvement when it is available and funded by the community’s tax money. Home education is legitimate and growing, and home educated students are allowed to participate at their local public schools in 30+ states. In NJ, many districts have homeschoolers participating successfully. The questions and concerns have already been worked through and addressed, so the Brick BOE should do the same.

    • Let’s Roll

      Put your kid in school if he wants to play sports. Choices have consequences.

      • Let Homeschoolers Play

        Since you are trolling with an agenda, I will say that these arguments are old and you are showing your bias against homeschooling.

      • Let’s Roll

        Since you are trolling with an agenda , your bias for homeschooling is showing.

    • Let’s Roll

      Thats your opinion.

  • Chief Wahoo

    If you are robbed by the public TAKERS property tax scheme. No doubt your child should be allowed to play sports for their high school team. Just because their parents care enough for their children NOT to send them to the indoctrination prison , doesn’t mean the child should be punished by those hypocrites who always say ITS FOR THE CHILDREN.

  • Let’s Roll

    Students “ in school “have to maintain passing grades to participate. Who grades the homeschoolers?
    We know what grade the “ in school” students are at. Who checks the homeschoolers?
    I have caught homeschoolers cheating and lying about their childrens grade levels just to get them onto certain teams in intramural and recreation sports. Many homeschoolers ages and grade levels dont match up with their “in school “ rivals.
    Are private school students able to play on public school teams? That should not be allowed either. Choices have consequences.
    Whats next? Home schoolers should be allowed to go on class trips and proms at the public schools?

    • Let Homeschoolers Play

      Your bias against home education is very evident. There are many and varied reasons for homeschooling, including military, medical, behavioral, religious, and preference. Every child is different and education is not a one size fits all. You are disparaging children in your effort to sensationalize this issue. Yes, as tax paying, vibrant members of communities we believe home educated students should have equal access to all those activities. They are children, friends and neighbors in your town, not aliens who are invading and not worthy of these opportunities. They should be required to provide evidence of equivalent education. As far as your citing dishonesty, that is unfortunate, but the same dishonesty exists in all spheres of public education – and that has been proven. You are using extreme, sensationalist and exception arguments which are not the normative truth to yell out your agenda. Choices do have consequences, and your choice to promote biased, inaccurate and hateful rhetoric against these children is both sad and un-American. The plainly available evidence is against you. Please go troll some other issue and LET HOMESCHOOLERS PLAY.

  • Let’s Roll

    Start a home school league and let them play with each other.

    • Let Homeschoolers Play

      Gauging from your American flag avatar and your comment history, I would think that you would be supportive of liberty, and the fact that in America we have the freedom to chose the educational path of our children. Stop and think. Do you think homeschool families have never thought about starting their own leagues before? Really?

      • Let’s Roll

        Ever hear the saying “ having your cake and eating it too”? That describes you.

      • Let Homeschoolers Play

        I’ve helped to pay for the cake, so having access to eating it is a reasonable request. Have a good day.

  • Let’s Roll

    Parents homeschool their kids because they dont want their precious darlings being around the public school rif raf and they are too poor to send them to a good private school. If your children are too precious to learn at a public school then they are too precious to play sports at a public school.

    • Let Homeschoolers Play

      You are showing arrogance and ignorance in your assumptions of the reasons parents home educate. You are biased and unfair. It has nothing to do with “rif raf” and everything to do with what is best for each child in their parent’s eyes. Please try to do some research on the subject to avoid getting so triggered over a kid who wants to swim with her friends on the team.

  • Let Homeschoolers Play

    In 2017 home education is growing, and thousands of districts across the US allow homeschooled kids to play. It’s already been done successfully, and all the evidence points to positive results. Why not do the same in Brick, NJ?

  • adrian0512

    Why should a home-schooled child be treated any differently than a student who chooses to go to MATES or PAA? Kids who attend MATES, PAA, or any other vocational program are included in the Brick or Memorial high school sports teams as well as the marching band. They are in district, but attend an alternative school geared towards their interests. I see no difference in the home-school choice vs. an alternative high school.

    • Let’s Roll

      That is a very close comparison but they are still attending a public school .
      Send your homeschooled kid to MATES and then he can play for Brick.

      • Rachael Pounds Pabon

        Maybe my homeschooled kid isn’t interested in a STEM program which is MATES. Maybe they aren’t interested in a theater program such as PAA. Maybe just maybe mine is interested in literature and writing and we are able to travel up and down the coast to meet her favorite authors and feed her love of this. There are not specialty programs for every interest. Adrian 0512 gets it, you obviously don’t.

      • Let’s Roll

        Isnt your little darling special. Im surprised you dont demand the local school bus chauffeur your little princess up and down the coast to meet her favorite authors at taxpayer expense.

  • Let’s Roll

    To those in this thread, I am 100% in favor of home schooling and school vouchers. I am also 100% in favor of only students attending a school being allowed to participate in that schools clubs, sports and after school activities. Choices have consequences. You homeschool, you miss out on all public school activities. You attend private or religous schools, you miss out on the punlic school actiities. Some catholic schools have football teams and some dont. If football is important to your family then send your child to the Catholic school with the football program. Again, choices have consequences.

  • Let’s Roll

    No. Especially of you. Put a couple of kids through expensive private school. Paid for their sports participation, twice. Once with taxes and other with tuition.

    • Rachael Pounds Pabon

      And I have paid for every dime of my child’s education from pre k through high school. What’s your point? Many private schooled children have the right to play on their local hs team and if yours didn’t you should have fought for that right as well. It’s hard to fight hiding behind a fake name though.

      • Let’s Roll

        Not hiding. It’s not a name, it’s a slogan.
        Are Mark Twain and Poor Richard fake names also?