Home-school student files appeal to be recognized as public school Hall of Famer

Anna Grace received nomination into Gaffney High School Hall of Fame, but high school administrators believe she is ineligible. 

GAFFNEY (FOX Carolina)- Anna Grace Cooper found her footing at 4 years old and through the years she began to excel at soccer.

Because she loves the game, she and her parents kicked around the idea that she play for a public school even though Ann Grace is home-schooled.

“I taught school 20 years ago and we have five children and we felt for us, not for everyone else that homeschooling was the best choice," Deanna Cooper said.

She's Anna Grace's mother and her teacher.

“Several years ago there was a law that was passed that you can participate as a home-school student in public school sports," Cooper said.

It's called the Equal Access Law and because of it Anna Grace played on several teams at Granard Middle School and Gaffney High School where she received several awards, including MVP.

“It’s been an ongoing journey that she has been on," Cooper said.

Deanna Cooper says when Anna Grace's soccer coach chose her to be inducted into the Gaffney High School Hall of Fame, the entire house was excited, but they later found out it might not happen.

“We want her to come and wear our jersey, we want her to be All-Region for our Gaffney High School, but we cannot induct her into the Hall of Fame because she is home-schooled," Cooper said.

She says Gaffney High School's principal sent a letter that states administrators review nominations to ensure eligibility. It reads:

“All Hall of Fame inductees have been seniors enrolled in and attending classes at GHS.”

It goes on to state:

“Because Anna Grace is not a GHS student, she was not eligible for the Hall of Fame.”

The letter also acknowledges Anna Grace as a very talented athlete.

“We want to make sure that no other home-schooled, private school, charter school, or online virtual school ever has to go through this," Cooper said.“If there were polices and procedures in place- written, not verbal, but written that says you cannot be a home-schooled student and be inducted into the Hall of Fame there would’ve never been a question.”

The letter also stated the Coopers could file an appeal with the superintendent, which they have done. FOX Carolina also talked to the superintendent who said unfortunately, he cannot comment on student matters. The Coopers say they also plan to talk to school board members about written policies, rules, and procedures regarding home-schooled children participating in public school activities.

Copyright 2019 FOX Carolina (Meredith Corporation). All rights reserved.

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