2012 Regular Session
By: Senator(s) Hill, Tindell, Watson, Collins, Gandy, Sojourner, Smith
AN ACT ENTITLED THE "HOMESCHOOL STUDENTS EQUAL ACCESS ACT"; TO PROVIDE DEFINITIONS; TO AUTHORIZE AND DIRECT LOCAL SCHOOL BOARDS TO REGISTER A HOMESCHOOL STUDENT RESIDING IN THE SCHOOL DISTRICT FOR PARTICIPATION IN ANY EXTRACURRICULAR ACTIVITIES AVAILABLE TO STUDENTS IN THE HOMESCHOOL STUDENT'S GRADE; TO PROVIDE CERTAIN CONDITIONS FOR PARTICIPATION BY THE HOMESCHOOL STUDENT; TO PROVIDE FOR INSURANCE COVERAGE FOR SUCH EXTRACURRICULAR ACTIVITIES; TO PROVIDE THAT SCHOOLS UTILIZING SUCH HOMESCHOOL STUDENTS MAY NOT BE IMPEDED FROM COMPETING AGAINST OTHER SCHOOLS; TO PROVIDE THAT SUCH HOMESCHOOL STUDENTS SHALL BE INCLUDED IN THE PUBLIC SCHOOL'S AVERAGE DAILY ATTENDANCE UNDER THE ADEQUATE EDUCATION PROGRAM; AND FOR RELATED PURPOSES.
BE IT ENACTED BY THE LEGISLATURE OF THE STATE OF MISSISSIPPI:
SECTION 1. (1) This act shall be known and may be cited as the "Homeschool Students Equal Access Act."
(2) As used in this section:
(a) "Extracurricular activities" includes all athletic programs of the school for individuals and team sports, and any school-authorized or education-related activity occurring during or outside the regular instructional school day, including, but not limited to, academic teams, athletics, art, band, choir, honor societies, music, theatre and ROTC.
(b) "Homeschool students" are those children taught by private teachers, parents, guardians or custodians in a legitimate home instruction program as defined in the Mississippi Compulsory School Attendance Law, Section 37-13-91, Mississippi Code of 1972.
(3) If a parent, guardian or legal custodian of a homeschool student submits a request, the local school board shall be authorized and required to register the student in a public school for participation on the same basis as public school students in any extracurricular activities available to students in the homeschool student's grade. A homeschool student applying for extracurricular activities must reside within the attendance boundaries of the school in which the student is seeking enrollment. Request for extracurricular activities in the following school year must be submitted by the parent, guardian or legal custodian before May 1. Participation is conditioned on all of the following:
(a) The student shall participate in the extracurricular activities as a representative of the school.
(b) The student shall pay any participation or activity fee in an amount equal to the fee charged to a public school participant.
(c) The student shall adhere to the same standards of behavior, responsibility, performance, and code of conduct as other participants of the team or activity. If the student is convicted of, or is found to have committed, a felony or a delinquent act which would have been a felony if committed by an adult, regardless of whether adjudication is withheld, the participation of the student in interscholastic extracurricular activities is contingent upon established and published district school board policy.
(d) The student shall adhere to the same academic standards as other participants of the team or activity, with those standards confirmed by appropriate documentation provided by the homeschool to the public school providing the activity in which the student is to participate. Such students shall be able to participate in curricular activities if that is a requirement of the extracurricular activity, including, but not limited to, weight training.
(e) The student shall satisfy the same residency requirements as other students in the school at which the student participates.
(4) A student of a public school or nonpub1ic school who has been unable to maintain academic eligibility for participation in extracurricular activities is ineligible to participate in such activities as a student who is instructed as a homeschool student until the student has successfully satisfied standards to regain eligibility that are equivalent to those imposed on other students at the same grade level.
(5) A homeschool student who transfers to a public school before or during the first grading period of the school year is academically eligible to participate in extracurricular activities during the first grading period provided the student has a successful evaluation from the previous year.
(6) Any insurance provided by a local school board for participants in extracurricular activities shall cover a participating homeschool student. If there is an additional premium for such coverage, such participating student shall pay the additional premium.
(7) (a) No public school athletic team or group shall be impeded from competing against any other public or nonpublic school team or group because the team or group utilizes homeschool students as pursuant to this section.
(b) A public school is prohibited from membership in any organization or entity which regulates or governs interscholastic extracurricular activities and discriminates against eligible homeschool students.
(8) Any homeschool student enrolled for extracurricular activities shall be included in the public school's attendance for purposes of adequate education program funding.
SECTION 2. This act shall take effect and be in force from and after July 1, 2012.