A Senate Education Committee Wednesday voted 9-3 in favor of a bill that would allow home-schooled students in South Carolina to play sports at their local public school.
Sen. Joel Lourie, D-Richland, attempted to add three amendments, including one that would allow schools to say no to letting home schoolers participate in extracurricular sports and activities, but when his first motion was voted down, he withdrew all three amendments.
The next step is for the bill, S. 127, to go the full Senate floor. However, Lourie and Ralph Anderson, D-Greenville, placed minority reports on the bill, which puts the measure on the contested calendar and hurts its chances of passing.
However, Lourie emphasized that he believes allowing home-school students to take part in afterschool activities is a good thing.
“I believe participation in extracurricular activities and sports is of tremendous benefit to kids,” he said. “So I very much favor the idea.”
Officials estimate that 18,000 students are home schooled in South Carolina.
Opponents include the South Carolina High School League, which regulates high school and middle school sports. Its commissioner, Jerome Singleton, has said its members believe students should attend the school they represent.
Supporters believe it’s an issue of fairness. For one thing, home-school parents pay taxes and proponents argue home-school students should have the same access to sports and band facilities that their public school peers have, if they choose.