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Virginia Governor Benches Tebow Bill, Sidelines Home-School Athletes


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Gov. Terry McAuliffe, D-Va., has effectively sidelined all home school athletes in the state who'd like to compete for their public high school.

For the third year in a row, McAuliffe has vetoed the so-called "Tebow bill," which would overturn a state ban on home-school students participating in high school sports and other interscholastic activities.

McAuliffe said doing so "would disrupt the level playing field Virginia's public schools have developed over the past century" and codify "academic inequality" because home-school students don't satisfy the same academic criteria as public school students.

However, the Viriginia bill, known as HB 1578, does require home-school students who want to compete to pass standardized tests and demonstrate "evidence of progress" in their school curriculum for at least two years. They must also meet public school immunization standards.

The Virginia-based Home School Legal Defense Association (HSLDA) remains officially neutral on the bill.  Senior counsel Scott Woodruff told CBN News that the HSLDA focuses on a core mission to defend families' rights to home school and does not take action on efforts to secure more public school rights for home school children.

Many in the home-school community are divided over the Tebow bill according to Woodruff.  Some believe it's better to build up home-school sports associations.  Others believe that home-school athletes will suffer if they're locked out of public school sports programs.

More than half of the states allow home-school students to access public school sports and other extra-curricular activities.

Woodruff expects the momentum to continue and that Virginia will eventually pass the bill.  "The trend is in their favor," he told CBN News adding, "it's probably only a matter of time."

Texas is considering similar legislation this year.

Woodruff also noted that no state that has passed the Tebow bill has moved to repeal it.

Many lawmakers have nicknamed the legislation the "Tebow bill" for former NFL quarterback Tim Tebow.  As a home-school student in Florida he was able to play football for a public high school.

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About The Author


Heather Sells covers wide-ranging stories for CBN News that include religious liberty, ministry trends, immigration, and education. She’s known for telling personal stories that capture the issues of the day, from the border sheriff who rescues migrants in the desert to the parents struggling with a child that identifies as transgender. In the last year, she has reported on immigration at the Texas border, from Washington, D.C., in advance of the Dobbs abortion case, at crisis pregnancy centers in Massachusetts, and on sexual abuse reform at the annual Southern Baptist meeting in Anaheim