Rob Bell’s ‘Tebow Bill’ passes Virginia House of DelegatesPoliticsVirginia

Delegate Rob Bell’s “Tebow Bill” allowing homeschooled students to play public school sports has passed the House of Delegates by a vote of 56-43.

Named after Tim Tebow, the 25-year-old quarterback who has played with the Denver Broncos and New York Jets, the bill was defended by homeschool students who testified earlier this week:

“We’re not asking for a spot on the team, we’re just asking for a chance to try out,” said Josh Henderson, who was a homeschooled student from Hampton Roads.

He told the committee about how he was not able to continue to play baseball with his friends as they grew older. He said he has a younger brother who now wants a chance to play “and I don’t want him to go through what I went through.”

It now goes to the State Senate where it has been defeated in the past.

The bill would expand options for homeschool students by allowing them to participate in sports and extracurricular activities at their local high schools, much as the homeschooled Tebow was allowed to play football with his local public high school team in Florida. For some, it’s a way to participate in team sports that may not be available through their homeschool association. For others, it may be a means to earn a college sports scholarship to help pay for higher education.

Twenty-nine states already allow homeschoolers to play high school sports. In Virginia, that option is not available and, while some homeschool families are not interested in public school access, the Tebow Bill would provide a choice for families who are interested.

The Virginia High School League, the Virginia Education Association, the Virginia PTA, and the Virginia School Boards Association have spoken against the bill. Read more from Delegate Bell about the pros of this bill.

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Delegate Rob Bell (R-58th House) is the patron of the Tebow Bill. He was the recipient of Home Educators Association of Virginia’s 2006 award for “Outstanding Leadership in Advancing the Rights of Home-Educating Parents.” He was an Honors Graduate from the University of Virginia and UVA Law School. A candidate for Virginia Attorney General in 2013, Delegate Bell lives in Albemarle County with his wife and two young children. 

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