Home-schooled athletes score big with new policy

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Brick Township Board of Education office. FILE PHOTO / THE OCEAN STAR

BRICK TOWNSHIP — Home-schooled student athletes are now able to participate in school district athletics.

During the board of education’s Jan. 10 meeting, board members unanimously approved an amended policy that allows home-schooled students residing in Brick Township to participate in district athletics and extra-curricular activities.

“I’m ecstatic,” said Brick resident Rachel Pabon, whose daughter Jessica is home-schooled.

Ms. Pabon originally brought the district policy regarding home-schooled athletes to the attention of the board in October, after she was notified that her daughter would no longer be eligible to try out for the Brick Township High School swim team.

The district allowed homeschooled students to participate in district athletics until 2016, at which time the policy was omitted during the November 2016 board meeting when all of the 2000 series policies were replaced, according to Acting Superintendent Dennis Filippone.

With the passage of a formal policy, athletic participation for home-schooled students like Jessica is no longer in jeopardy.

“This is fantastic for all kids, but Jessica really needed this,” Ms. Pabon said. According to Mr. Filippone, allowing home-schooled students to participate in district athletics and extra-curricular activities allows the district to put its best foot forward.

“Those are normally the students, in my mind, they are ambassadors in our district,” he said. “They put our best foot forward and that’s a good thing. I’m sure the home-schooled students will do that.”

According to Janet Bamford, spokesperson for the New Jersey School Boards Association, districts have shown increased interest in pursuing policies regarding home-schooled athletes.

“It is something of interest,” Ms. Bamford said.

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