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Bill allowing homeschoolers to compete in UIL heads to Texas Senate

Updated: May. 20, 2021 at 9:20 PM CDT
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LUBBOCK, Texas (KCBD) - Homeschoolers are one step closer to being allowed to participate in UIL activities.

Texas HB 547 would allow homeschoolers to compete in UIL, both in academics and athletics.

The bill has made its way through the Texas House and is moving to the Senate floor for debate.

This time it allows school districts to choose if they want homeschoolers to compete.

Former Lubbock Titans Coach Tanner Bruffey says the Titans have been fighting against this bill for several years.

“Having this other option is going to be something that’s competing with what we’ve established here locally,” Bruffey said.

Bruffey says the bill wouldn’t affect Lubbock immediately, since most homeschool students would stay true to their community. He says it will hurt future generations the most.

“We have some really cool tournaments. We’ve got a state tournament, a regional tournament and a national tournament. And I think that what would happen with those is that they would slowly kind of go away, because people are going to have other options to go compete in other places,” Bruffey said.

Homeschool students would have to submit a passing score from a nationally recognized standardized test within the first six weeks of school and updates from parents throughout the year.

Initially, Bruffey thinks public schools would face the consequences.

“There’s some kids in some places where you’re going to see that kids are like, ‘Well, I don’t have to go to school. I can just say that I’m homeschooled, quote-unquote. And now I can participate in sports, but I’m not held accountable from an academic standpoint,’” Bruffey said.

The Texas Homeschool Coalition backs the bill, citing that 22 to 32 percent of homeschool families live in rural areas.

“I can see that being a positive, because if I’m a homeschool kid that lives in some small town in Texas, now I have the opportunity to play at my local high school that I wouldn’t have got otherwise,” Bruffey said.

According to the Texas Homeschool Coalition, 35 other states allow homeschool students to participate in public school activities.

Lubbock state representatives Dustin Burrows and John Frullo voted in favor of the bill.

We reached out to our local school districts about the bill but received no comment as of Thursday night.

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