FORT WAYNE, Ind. (21Alive) -- A New Haven freshman who's home schooled may be the first in the state to be able to participate in sports at a public high school.
After years of parents' asking school districts for this opportunity, things have finally fallen into place to allow at least this one student to participate in IHSAA sanctioned sports.
The governing board of the High School Athletic Association voted earlier this summer to allow public school districts to enroll home-schooled students for one class per semester so they could participate in sanctioned sports.
East Allen’s school board approved the measure Tuesday night, so a home-schooled freshman in New Haven has enrolled in one algebra class to start meeting requirements to do this, and is already working out with the high school's football team.
The boy's mother is thrilled.
“The schools here have been very open to us. He participated in middle school sports and that wasn't a problem. And he did very well. He did football, wrestling and track, and excelled in all of those things. So he enjoys it very much and like I said, he does better in all of his studies when he has some outlet for the things he likes to do,” Jill Meredith says.
“They have to provide their grades to the athletic director. They have to tell us the core curriculum that they're taking, and we hope that it's English and math and science and social studies. And they have to follow our code of conduct rules when they're an athlete, so there's a lot of criteria that they have to adhere to,” says Tamyra Kelly from East Allen County Schools.
If students do not enroll in a class for the semester they’re not in a sport, it could render them ineligible to participate in any sport for a full year.
By the way, the IHSAA says since student athletes are not transferring into new districts, merely enrolling in one class, there’s no way right now to tell how many districts across the state are taking advantage of this new rule. But East Allen County Schools is definitely one of the first, if not the first, district in the state to do this for home-schooled athletes.
The IHSAA decided to change its rules because there was a demand for it. And East Allen County has fielded inquiries about home schoolers playing sports for several years. With these new rules and district guidelines, that’s now a reality.
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