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How new state legislation will allow home-schooled students to participate in FCS athletics, extracurriculars
GHSA

The Forsyth County Board of Education plans to adopt a change to its policy on extracurricular and competitive interscholastic activities after state lawmakers passed a bill allowing home-schooled students to participate.

Nathan Turner, athletic director for Forsyth County Schools, presented changes to the policy to the board at a called meeting on Tuesday, July 13.

Before the change, students could only try out for a school play or join their school’s football team if they were enrolled full time. Now, the change will allow home-schooled students to participate as long as they take at least one course at the school during each semester of participation in the sport or activity.

The change applies to activities and programs within the county’s middle and high schools.

Turner said the district has worked closely with the Georgia High School Association and other athletic directors in the metro Atlanta area to match up requirements ahead of time, making sure that each county in the area have similar expectations for interested home-schooled students.

All of those accepted into an activity or program will be held to the same academic standards as full-time students. They will be required to maintain five out of seven classes or 2.5 Carnegie Units per semester.

The district will ask that home-schooled students provide a transcript and other documentation upon enrollment for the school to verify eligibility status.

Turner said students enrolled in private schools are not “considered part of the home-schooled curriculum” and will not be eligible to take part in FCS activities and sports.

Toward the end of the presentation, Superintendent Dr. Jeff Bearden also noted that he and the board members have gotten questions from interested families about participating in athletics at schools in the county that they are not districted for.

“We are not allowing that,” Bearden said. “That would give those students an advantage over our full-time students who have to go through the out-of-district process, and as you know, athletics is not something we consider for an out-of-district process. I want to be very clear about that. If you want to take advantage of this new legislation that’s been adopted, you have to participate at the school where you are zoned to participate.”

The policy changes will be available on the district’s website, www.forsyth.k12.ga.us, for the next month for public feedback before the board votes on the changes in August.