Congressional candidate and Watertown State Senator Neal Tapio issued a statement of support today for HB 1120, a bill that would allow unfettered access to public school sports and activities by homeschool families, without requiring them to be enrolled as students in local school districts.
“As the slogan so rightly says, ‘Let the Kids Play,'” Tapio said.
“It’s as simple as that.”
Presently, homeschool families have complained that their children are often coerced into enrolling in some public school district classes as a condition of playing sports or taking part in school arts programs.
Homeschoolers and proponents of HB 1120 say that enrollment requirement is being used by some districts to take advantage of the superior academic performance and standardized test scores of home school students by requiring that testing take place as an enrollee of a school district.
“Homeschooling is the very best tradition of American education,” Tapio said. “Our very first schools on American shores were in the homes of families, with mothers and fathers banded together to help educate their kids in the manner and beliefs of their own choosing,” Tapio said.
“South Dakota’s homeschool families should absolutely have unfettered access to the activities menu of their local district, without condition and with full opportunity for participation.”
HB 1120 is still under consideration in the South Dakota House, pending some small amendments on the bill’s language. Once passed, it will move to the Senate for final approval prior to the Governor’s signature.
“Large numbers of my extended family are dedicated homeschoolers and have benefitted richly from the right of educational self-determination for their children,” Tapio said.
“I’m very supportive.”
Read the full text of HB 1120 here.