It may be a little easier for homeschooled students to take part in extracurricular activities at Winamac Middle School, following action from the Eastern Pulaski School Board last month. Middle school students will no longer be required to have been homeschooled for the previous three consecutive years.
Principal Ryan Dickinson, Athletic Director Bill Ball, and some middle school teachers had reviewed the policy, after a member of the public raised the issue during a previous board meeting. Dickinson said they all agreed that homeschooled students who participate in the school’s extracurricular activities should have a foot in the door, and that particular provision didn’t align with that. But rather than removing it, board members voted to simply add a sentence saying that it doesn’t apply to middle school students.
Interim Superintendent Dr. Gib Crimmins voiced his support for the change. “I think the reason you have middle school extracurricular is to get kids involved,” he said. “I think the three consecutive [years of] homeschool is to stop parents from shopping athletes in the high school situation. As long as you are requiring them to take a math or an English [class] in middle school, there’s a strong likelihood that they’re going to be a Winamac High School student at some point.”
Eastern Pulaski’s homeschool participation policy was put into place back in 2017. At the time, a majority of school board members decided to base the policy for all grade levels off of the Indiana High School Athletic Association’s guidelines, rather than having different policies for different grade levels.