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'Tebow Bill' passes in Virginia Senate

Bill gives homeschool students access to public school extracurriculars

Members of the Virginia Capitol Police retire the colors after the Richmond Symphony Chorus (encircling the Speaker's podium) sang the National Anthem to open the 2013 session of the Virginia House of Delegates at the State Capitol in Richmond, VA Wednesday, Jan. 9, 2013.
Members of the Virginia Capitol Police retire the colors after the Richmond Symphony Chorus (encircling the Speaker's podium) sang the National Anthem to open the 2013 session of the Virginia House of Delegates at the State Capitol in Richmond, VA Wednesday, Jan. 9, 2013.

The Virginia Senate voted Tuesday to pass Del. Rob Bell’s, R-Charlottesville, bill allowing homeschooled students to participate in competitive extracurricular activities, including varsity sports teams, at local public schools. The House Bill 1626 is known as the “Tebow Bill” in honor of NFL player and former homeschool student Tim Tebow.

Bell said in an email he feels it is important for homeschooled students have the same access to extracurricular activities as students attending public schools.

“These are students who are following the law and passing their tests, but whose parents believe should be homeschooled,” Bell said. “Twenty-nine states allow them to participate in sports at high schools, and Virginia should too.”

Bell said he hopes the opportunities granted by bill will have a positive impact on homeschooled students in many different ways.

“It will allow them to pursue their optimal academic experience, while also experiencing the benefits of sports, forensics, and other competitive activities only available in a school,” Bell said. “In many smaller counties, there are no options other than the local high school for competitive athletics — the high school is literally the only game in town.”

Politicians have been trying to pass legislature allowing homeschoolers access to extracurricular activities for decades. The Tebow Bill was contested during its push through the Senate, but ultimately passed.

“The opposition fought this for many years,” Bell said. “We have traced a version of this back to 1995.”

The bill underwent minor adjustments in the Senate, providing that homeschooled students could only participate in activities in their local district. Bell is still confident this did not change the fundamental nature of the bill.

“We already believed the bill was [a] local option, meaning each county could make its own decision,” Bell said. “The amendment confirmed what we already thought was the case, and made some previous opponents happy, so I was happy with this.”


The bill already passed the House of Delegates. With the approval of the Senate, the bill now awaits Gov. McAuliffe’s signature.

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