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H.B. 1578. An Act to amend the Code of Virginia by adding in Chapter 1 of Title 22.1 a section numbered 22.1-7.2, relating to participation in public school interscholastic programs by students who receive home instruction.

02/15/17 House: Bill text as passed House and Senate (HB1578ER)
01/02/17 House: Prefiled and ordered printed; offered 01/11/17 17102346D

Patrons--Bell, Robert B., Freitas and LaRock

Passed the House of Delegates January 24, 2017 (60-Y 38-N)

Passed by until April 5



    Pursuant to Article V, Section 6, of the Constitution of Virginia, I veto House Bill 1578, which prohibits public schools from joining any organization governing interscholastic programs that does not allow home-schooled students to participate.  More than 300 public schools belong to the Virginia High School League (VHSL), an organization through which member schools have regulated interscholastic competition since 1913. Each year over 200,000 public school students, who satisfy the VHSL's 13 individual eligibility requirements, participate in one or more of the league's 27 sports and 11 academic activities.


    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. While the bill provides that home-schooled students must demonstrate evidence of progress in order to participate in interscholastic activities, the unique nature of their educational situation precludes conformity to the same standards.


    Virginia's public schools provide a complete package of scholastic offerings and access to extracurricular activities. Participation in athletic and academic competitions is a privilege for students who satisfy eligibility requirements. Opening participation in those competitions to individuals who are not required to satisfy the same criteria codifies academic inequality in interscholastic competition.


    Accordingly, I veto this bill. 

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