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Va. House Passes Bill Allowing Homeschooled Students in School Sports

AP_TebowLaw.jpg

The controversial "Tebow Bill," which would allow homeschooled students in Virginia to participate in public school sports, passed through the state House of Delegates on a 59-39 vote on Wednesday.

The legislation earned its moniker from current Denver Broncos quarterback Tim Tebow, who played football at a public high school in Florida despite being homeschooled.

As you may remember, Tebow became infamous for a pose this season... a pose which Del. Robert B. Bell, who introduced the bill, struck on the floor of the House after the vote yesterday.

Virginia Gov. Bob McDonnell recently said he'd support the bill (assuming it passes the Senate), according to the Washington Post.

"Homeschool parents pay taxes like everybody else," Gov. McDonnell said, according to the paper. "It's just fair."

Opponents to the bill argue that homeschooled students aren't necessarily held to the same academic or disciplinary standards as public school students. In the Virginia High School League's 2011-12 Handbook and Policy Manual, an athletically eligible student is defined as "in regular attendance and is carrying a schedule of subjects which, if successfully completed, will render him/her scholastically eligible for league participation the ensuing semester."

Over 25 states have laws governing what public school activities homeschooled students are allowed to participate in, according to a a brief from the Home School Legal Defense Association.

Back in November, the New Jersey State Interscholastic Athletic Association approved rule changes that allow homeschooled students to participate in public school sports, provided they prove to their local board of education that they meet the same eligibility standards as a typical public school student-athlete.

The Virginia bill now moves onto the state Senate, where passage remains uncertain, according to the New York Times. The VHSL opposes the bill, along with the Virginia Association of School Superintendents and the Virginia Education Association, the paper reports.

Photo: Del. Rob B. Bell, III, R-Albemarle, left, imitates the "Tebowing" pose of Denver Broncos quarterback Tim Tebow after Bell's HB947 bill allowing homeschooled students to participate in interscholastic sports passed the Virginia House of Delegates at the State Capitol in Richmond, Va. (Bob Brown/Richmond Times-Dispatch/AP)

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