Georgia is moving toward allowing home-schooled student-athletes to compete on the high school sports teams in their community.
According to The Associated Press, Senate Bill 51 — the Dexter Mosley Act — passed through the Senate Education and Youth Committee last week and will move on to the Georgia Senate. If passed, the bill would allow sixth- through 12th-graders taking at least one online course through the local public school system to participate in that school district’s extracurricular activities.
“It’s time for us to move in this direction,” said Robin Hines, executive director of the Georgia High School Association, which is endorsing the plan. “I believe that’s where our association is heading. At our core we are about providing opportunities for young people.”
Hines noted that allowing home-schooled students to participate isn’t a big leap, as the COVID-19 pandemic has caused many traditional public school students to take virtual classes. According to the AP, more than 25 states already allow home-schooled students to participate in high school activities.
“This is not just a sports bill,” Family Policy Alliance of Georgia executive director Cole Muzio said. “This is a bill to end discrimination in our state against home-school students and allow them to participate in all extracurricular activity only available at their public school.”
Among the concerns of allowing home-schooled students to participate are that it would cost other students opportunities, lead to rising costs, and potentially be difficult to regulate home-schooled students’ eligibility.
A Georgia ABC affiliate spoke with Eston Burns, a home-school student who wants to swim at Heritage High.
"It would just mean I would have more inclusion within my community's sports," said the 16-year-old Burns. "I'll be able to go see more sports. I'll be able to interact with more people outside of my homeschool community."