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School reviews its homeschool policy; Parents want activities open to all students

"That's what we're trying to clarify at this point," said Aidala.

When complete, the draft will be presented to the board for review.

Quinn said she would like to be part of the policy-making process.

"I need to know how I am to find out this happening," said Quinn. "And what our roles as parents can and should be. I'm more than willing to participate in any process."

Aidala said parents of homeschooled students are welcome at board of education meetings and can voice their concerns or wishes to the board during the public comment session at each meeting.

Policy meetings are also open, he said, however, meeting times are determined by each member's availability and varies month to month.

Aidala said the relationship between public schools and families who choose to instruct their children at home is not adversarial, and he said the policy would reflect that.

"We would try to establish a good working relationship with those families that choose to homeschool," said Aidala.

One area in which the school district is legally limited in what it can provide homeschooled students is interscholastic sports.

"The commissioner's regulations actually prohibit interscholastic athletic sports unless the child is in attendance 80 percent of the time," said T.J. Schmidt, staff attorney for the Home School Legal Defense Association. In New York state, 80 percent participation in a curriculum is impossible because the state does not allow dual enrollment.

"What this means," said Schmidt, "is a high school (homeschooled) student can not participate in high school sports."

According to state education regulations, homeschooled students can only participate in those activities that the district deems to be extra-curricular. For instance, if participation in a band program was considered to not be part of the school's curriculum, it would be decided by board policy whether or not a student taught outside of the public school system would be able to participate.

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