House Bills Vetoed by the Governor
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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
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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