Homeschool families settle for bill similar to Tim Tebow Act

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FLAT TOP, WV (WVNS) — Some would say team sports build character, teach discipline and instill a drive in people at a young age.

Jamie Buckland believes sports is a huge part in someone’s childhood.

“They learn self confidence in a way that cannot be equated in many other avenues. They are able to work as a team. They’re able to learn leadership skills and communication skills,” Buckland said.

But for Ethan Buckland, being on a team was not really an option. His mom is Jamie Buckland and she homeschools all four of her children.

“He missed out on opportunities because we are choosing an educational path that isn’t a conventional path,” Buckland said.

Her son missed the opportunity to be on a team now that he is graduated. But Jamie wanted to see a change for her other three children. That is why she lobbied for the Tim Tebow Act to pass.

“Senate bill 131. It will basically die in committee come March 8th,” Buckland said.

There is another bill that passed both the House and Senate, and is waiting for the signature of Governor Justice. This bill, House Bill 3127, would allow students who are homeschooled to participate in public school sports. But, it will come with some challenges.

“Meeting academic achievements through standardized testing, it is requiring vaccinations, and you have to play at your zoned school, so you can’t hop schools. But it is specific to homeschoolers and it is requiring one virtual course,” Buckland said.

Students that are homeschooled for at least one year, can enroll in a mandated virtual class, and pass standardized testing to take part in their favorite sport the following year. It may not be the most ideal option for homeschool families, but it is a step in the right direction.

“To actually say we recognize these children as student athletes and we are going to give them a pathway to participate in the school’s programs,” Buckland said.

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