Parents of homeschool children want sports

OHSAA’s rules leave room for interpretation; each school district gets the final say.

LEBANON — Kelly and April Kamentz would like to see all of their six children play sports on Lebanon schools teams.

But the 19-year residents of the district may not get that chance because their children are homeschooled, and like other Warren County schools that have high “partial enrollment” requirements, Lebanon requires student-athletes to take at least five classes a year.

“As a resident, as a taxpaying citizen, I’ve invested my life in Lebanon,” Kelly Kamentz said. “I hope that Lebanon will adopt what we consider to be a more reasonable definition of partial enrollment.”

The Ohio High School Athletic Association’s policy on the issue leaves room for interpretation. It allows homeschooled students to participate in interscholastic sports if they are partially enrolled in at least one class in their district; but it is up to individual school boards to determine what “partial” means.

Lebanon resident and Cincinnati attorney Sky Smith has taken up the cause for parents who homeschool and want more athletic opportunities for their children.

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“Homeschooling is a choice that the state has approved as consistent with state public policy of educating children ... These parents own homes, they pay property taxes like everybody else. Why not let these kids play?” Smith said.

There are three reasons why the district has maintained its policy, according to Lebanon Superintendent Mark North.

“Our student-athletes are required to adhere to strict attendance requirements; they have a GPA that they are required to maintain that is fairly consistent among a small body of teachers; we emphasize that extracurricular activities are a privilege and not a right,” North said.

Neighboring districts have different standards.

Homeschooled students in Waynesville need to attend one class to participate in sports. Little Miami and Kings require four classes.

Mason allows homeschooled students to participate in club activities and other after-school programs if they take at least one class, but that doesn’t apply to school-sponsored teams, said Tracey Carson, spokeswoman for Mason City Schools.

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