Homeschoolers and Public School Sports in Alabama:
In 2005, a group of passionate parents began lobbying our legislature for equal access to public school sports programs for homeschool students. In 2006, the first bills that could make this a reality were introduced in the Senate and the House of Representatives.
Some of the same parents and some newcomers joined together to continue and increase the effort. A massive letter-writing campaign began in earnest.
Homeschool parents began walking the halls of the Alabama State House in a shoe-leather campaign. For the first time, our “Tebow bill” made its way to the Senate floor for debate. Unfortunately, after about 3 hours of early morning discussion, senators made the decision to carry this bill over, which, in effect, killed the bill. Because of this, the House of Representatives chose to do the same with their version of the bill when it finally made its way to the house floor. However, the sponsor of the bill promised to continue the conversation the next session and challenged members to get on board.
A new bill was introduced in the House of Representatives but never reached the floor for debate. State-house walking and letter writing continued all during this session. Also, parents began printing hundreds of pictures of their kids playing the sports they loved and distributing them to members of the legislature in both bodies.
Having determined that the time was ripe for our goal to be realized, members of the House of Representatives increased their attentiveness to our cause and strongly opposed push back from the AHSAA. A bill made its way deliberately through all proper channels until it found itself on the floor of the House of Representatives after midnight following a very, very long day in Montgomery. Because a house member introduced this bill but did not see it debated before dismissal of the members for some sleep, House rules demanded that it be the first bill taken up on the next legislative day.
- May 7 – HB 236 passed the House of Representatives and preparations began for its trek through the Senate.
- June 2 – The Senate Education Committee Chairman received a letter from the Executive Director of the AHSAA stating that the AHSAA Central Board of Control would develop its own bylaw allowing homeschool participation for the 2016-17 school year. This came after a public hearing in Senate and stopped the bill in its tracks.
- October 29 – Eight members of a homeschool parent committee representing homeschool parents from across the state met at the AHSAA office building in Montgomery with leaders from the AHSAA and ALSDE. The AHSAA Executive Director presented a slide show of the proposal for integrating homeschool students into public school sports teams. Parents asked many questions to understand the proposal and what it would mean for our families.
2016 – A Historical Year in Alabama
* April 12 – The AHSAA Legislative Council passed the promised bylaw that would allow homeschool participation on public school teams with AHSAA-member schools.
- May – Homeschool students enrolled and began summer practices.
- September 2016 – 6o homeschool students were enrolled in local public schools and began practicing and/or playing their sport(s) of choice. About 40 more enrolled at the beginning of the spring semester.
218 homeschool students enrolled for the first semester.
289 homeschool students enrolled for the first semester.
232 homeschool students enrolled for the first semester.
*Thank you Karin Baker Millican for your hard work and shring this information. Join Supporters of AHSAA’s New Bylaws For Homeschool Athletes on Facebook for additional support and information.