LRSD discusses rules for new homeschooled athletes

LITTLE ROCK (KATV) - A new law is putting new athletes on the field for high school teams around the state. For the first time this year homeschoolers will be able to participate in local school activities.

Whether you're taught at a desk or at the dinner table is no longer a concern with this new law. But in Thursday's meeting board members made it clear that homeschoolers have to agree to the same rules off the field before they put on that jersey.

It's an exciting thing for most of the people in the Little Rock School District. Dozens, possibly hundreds, of new faces joining high school athletic teams.

"It gives those kids who are homeschooled the opportunity to develop some social skills with some students," said Dr. Dexter Suggs, LRSD Superintendent.

The so-called Tim Tebow Bill, which was passed back in April, allows homeschoolers to participate in their local high school's activities as long as they meet the academic requirements. But there is a behavioral criteria district officials expect these new teammates to meet.

"We cannot go back and seek historical data on that child at his or her old school," said Suggs.

Board members brought up possible disciplinary issues with the new players. Schools are not allowed to look into a home schooler's past behavioral problems. It's a rule Dr. Suggs isn't necessarily opposed to.

"I really don't think you want to do anything like that," he said. "You want to give the kids an opportunity ,whenever you can, to accelerate. What you did in your past, that doesn't have anything to do with your future."

But moving forward, the district says it will try to maintain an even playing field for all students.

"Make sure that we do the same procedures that we would do with our students," said Dianne Curry, president of the Little Rock School Board.

And hopefully make it a win-win for everyone involved.

"Do understand, I will be talking to those parents to try to bring them back into our school district," said Suggs.

homeschoolers will be able to participate in their local high school activities beginning this academic school year.

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