Some children chase after a soccer ball during a game in Greenville County. (File/FOX Carolina)
COLUMBIA, SC (AP) -
Home-schooled students in South Carolina could play sports at their local public school under a measure advanced by a Senate panel.
An education subcommittee voted 6-3 Wednesday on a bill giving home-school students access to athletics and other extracurricular activities at the school they'd otherwise attend.
"I enjoy music because it's a way to express myself," Jonathan Hill, a 13 year-old who is home-schooled in Greenville County.
His interest is music, he plays the trumpet, but can't compete against some of his friends because he doesn't attend public school.
"I enjoy being able to go out and play and compete," he said.
Senator Chip Campsen, Dst. 43 (R), wrote the bill.
"When you have these extracurricular activities you learn what it takes to be successful and how to handle success and how to handle defeat," Campsen said.
He said home-schooled and those who attend charter schools have the right to have access to those activities.
"What's not fair is making the parents pay property taxes to support the school and then denying them access to activities," he said.
Officials estimate that 18,000 students are taught at home in South Carolina. How many would pursue the option is unknown. But Jonathan Hill's mother, Lori Hill said she would supports the idea.
"Educationally, we do well teaching at home, but it's the extracurricular things with other children that we look for to be involved in," she said.
Oran Smith of the Palmetto Family Council said 28 states already allow it.
Opponents include the South Carolina High School League, which regulates high school and middle school sports. Commissioner Jerome Singleton said its members believe students should attend the school they represent.
A bill under debate on the Senate floor would give the option to students in charter schools that don't offer sports.
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