Noah Ackerman had a busy summer.
With 4-H projects and continued school work, he did a lot. He will even be representing the local 4-H at the Indiana State Fair in a couple weeks.
And he swam in the family’s small pool to keep in shape for football season. But this home-schooled student will not be able to play football with his friends this season for Washington Junior High School.
The decision made by Washington schools administrators and made public last week is an example of the issue for home school families and their interaction with public schools. In this case, it is extracurricular activities.
In June, Noah’s parents, Brant and Renee, asked the Washington School Board for a waiver to allow their son to play junior high football. In their presentation, they had support from the seventh grade football coach and even said the varsity football coach had given support.
They went to the board because earlier this year, the Indiana High School Athletic Association’s Executive Committee voted to allow home school students to take part in IHSAA-sanctioned activities if certain criteria were met, including taking one class at the school and taking part in the ISTEP testing regiment. The school also has to allow the student to take part, even if the student is in junior high and not part of high school yet.
Days after making that request, Brant said, they were contacted by school administration and told their request was denied.
“(Assistant superintendent Paul White) explained at this time it wouldn’t be possible,” Brant said. “That their extracurricular activities are set aside for enrolled students.”
The Ackermans hoped and prayed the result would be in their son’s favor, but they had their doubts even before they made the presentation to the school board.