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Let’s let everyone play

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Mike's Minute

By Mike Aldridge

It seems like each week I need to comment on something before I get into my topic and this week is no exception.  
The University of Kentucky’s basketball scrimmages being played in the Bahamas has a real local flavor.  
All six games will be officiated by Harrison County natives John Hampton, Brent Hampton and Bart Lenox.  The three began their “tough” assignment Sunday and will finish this Sunday.
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State Rep. Stan Lee of Lexington announced last week that he is introducing a bill to allow children enrolled in a non-public school, including a home school, to participate in public school extra curricular activities.
According to the bill, which is named for former Florida quarterback and home-schooled Tim Tebow, the non-public or home-schooled student would be allowed to play for the public school where they live.
The student would be subject to the fees paid by public school students and also expected to have passing grades etc., which follow the established rules of the public schools.  
The student would also be allowed to ride public school transportation to sporting events providing that this does not cause additional expense to the public school.  
This proposed bill has some really good parts with little concern for problems as I see it.  
One part of the bill states that an individual will play for the school that is in his or her district as long as they offer the activity.  If a particular activity is not offered by the local school then the student can choose one that does.  
This could lead to some recruiting, but recruiting is already a problem which is largely ignored, so this should not be a deterrent to the bill being passed.  
Locally, in the last school year, there were 118 students in 76 home schools in Harrison County. This does not include the students attending St. Edward School, which is a licensed school just like the public schools.  
This is a bunch of students many more than I had any idea that there were and I would venture to say that I am not alone there.  
One of the bill’s sections requires that these students be immunized, have a physical examination, have insurance and be subject to the same age requirements as the public school students.  
The immunization part will be a problem I would guess since many of us know of home schooled families that do not believe in immunization.  
This also could be a good thing too as maybe some child will so badly want to be a ball player or band member or speech team member that they will change the  minds of their parents to get them immunized.
I have long thought that parents who pay school taxes should have the right to have their children participate in whatever activities that the local public school offers.  
I see the argument that it is the parents’ choice to send their child to an alternate school rather than the public school. However, in many cases, the school system forces a caring parent who has the means to seek a better education for their child to do so.  
I am not saying this is the case in all schools, but Lee’s proposed bill would cover all schools, not just the poor ones.  
We must realize that in the commonwealth there are many schools that are not as good as Harrison County and some that are better.
The bill proposed could be a way to better educate all children of the commonwealth as there are many educational facets of extra curricular activities.