Home School News Brick to Allow Home-Schooled Students to Participate in District Sports (For Now)

Brick to Allow Home-Schooled Students to Participate in District Sports (For Now)

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

The Brick Township Board of Education on Thursday night voted in  favor of allowing children who are home-schooled to participate in public school sports.

Debate over the practice erupted last month, when there was confusion over the district’s policy toward allowing home-schooled students to play. A former school board, spearheaded by former board member Larry Reid, passed a policy allowing the students to participate. But when policies were updated and replaced in the following years, they were silent on the issue. Some principals, however, still followed the previous policy, until they were notified the policy had changed this year, leading parents of home-schooled children to rally in an effort to preserve their children’s ability to participate.

Thursday night’s vote allows home-schooled children to participate in winter sports only, while the district formulates a permanent policy. Home-schooled students will need to prove academic eligibility and medical clearance in order to play, said Acting Superintendent Dennis Filippone.


“This is so the board can have ample time to put a policy together that meets the needs of the parents, the students and the district,” Filippone said.

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. 

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.

Filippone said a committee of board members, as well as himself, have obtained sample policies from other districts that they will tailor to Brick.

“We are working diligently to come up with a policy that really works,” he said. “We are pleased as a school district to be able to welcome in, for those activities, young people who can only add to what is a great environment for kids.”

  • 205167117

    As long as they figure out the academic eligibility and medical clearance I think this works.

    I’m curious how this would apply to a student attending a private school if that school doesn’t have a specific sport or program. For example let’s say Donovan Catholic doesn’t have a specific sport or club that the public school where the student lives does offer? Is there any difference between the rights of the kids that get home schooled to the kids that go to a private school?

    • KaayC

      Yep, a slippery slope there.

  • Nan

    It is time to separate sports from education. Our school taxes should go for educating students only.

    There are fundraisers by parents to help sports clubs. Sports should be available to all children of Brick as long as they have the ability to participate.

    The grounds or location for sports should be at a rental price for the clubs and at the same time make the schools available out of hours for non-sport clubs, e.g., Chess, Tech etc.

    We the taxpayers should not be obliged to pay for non educational items and items which are ed facto a form of discrimination.

    They should be organized as non-profit corporations and be required to adhere to the statutes governing same.

    • 205167117

      I agree. In many states, especially where a sport can be played year round that’s the case. Lots still have HS sports but they end up becoming secondary and played by the kids who don’t want to take it seriously all year which is nice because they don’t usually practice much and school stays first.

      • Mac

        Back in the 70’s, Coral Springs, Fla., offered such after-school activities for the elementary students, and almost ever child in town attended. It was a great success. Today, I don’t know if it’s still in practice. Different times, different values of society.

      • 205167117

        Funny you mention that, my personal experience is down in Broward County. It amazed me to find out that with many sports down there the club team comes first and many require you don’t participate in HS sports.

        I was involved with a related industry and it seemed like there was a big advantage for kids down south to continue playing in college. They end up getting double the experience compared to kids in alternating climates that play multiple sports.

    • Mac

      Really? Education in our schools has been designed to be an all-encompassing event. While I admit sports mentality education has been unreasonably shifted to the hottest burner, education is still more than knowing enough to dot your ‘i’s’ and cross your ‘t’s.’

  • KaayC

    What would motivate a parent to exclude their child from academics, but suddenly want participation for sports? Sorry for not being PC. I think these people strange.