Students, parents react to Governor vetoing homeschool sports bills

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Eighth grade home-school student Solomon Ashby has been playing sports on community teams for years, but hung up his gear at the end of last year.

"They're harder to find," Solomon, who now is part of the Quizbowl team, said. "They may not be as big, might be as well, might not have as many games and might not be as associated well with the community."

Those reasons are why Solomon was upset Governor Terry McAuliffe vetoed a bill allowing home-school students to play sports at public schools.

"I think the benefit would be more time so spectators and scouts and stuff can look at you. That way home-school kids get about the same amount of opportunities as public school kids," Ashby explained.

The governor vetoed the popular bill with this statement saying in part, "Allowing home-schooled students to participate in interscholastic competitions would disrupt the level playing field Virginia`s public schools have developed over the past century."

Parents like Sarah Touchet disagree.

"I think it's not necessarily an accurate statement, if he's suggesting that homeschoolers wouldn't have to qualify in the same way," Touchet said. "If a home-schooler applies or tries out for a sport, they'll be required to meet the same qualifications."

Parents say not allowing students to play sports in public schools not only hurts their chance at athletic scholarships, but also could become a financial burden.

"Public school students are supported by tax dollars. A homeschooler has to come in and pay sometimes up to a few hundred dollars to access that one sport for that one season," Touchet explained.

Touchet says it's a fight she'll continue until her homeschooled kids can play sports in public schools.

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