Monday, November 26, 2007

Home-school kids barred from activities

Posted at (NY).
Uriah Pissalidis, 16, a drummer from Baldwin, has played a modest concert for family with other members of his fledgling rock band.

But he hasn't had the chance to perform before cheering crowds with his school district's jazz or marching bands.

Because Uriah and his sister Rebecca, 12, are home-schooled, they aren't permitted to participate in extracurricular activities in the Baldwin Union Free School District.

"It's like pushing your nose against the glass," Uriah said. "It's there, but you can't get it."

Their father, Alex, 45, said he has tried for a year to get permission for his children to participate in activities, arguing that they are entitled to because he pays more than $5,000 yearly in school taxes.

"This is almost a form of discrimination," said the father, who home-schools his children because he feels he is more interested in their welfare and can better teach needed life skills.

While his request was denied at a recent school board meeting, Pissalidis said he would continue his quest.

The district said in a statement that it "is under no legal obligation to provide extracurricular services to home-schooled children" and it "is not prepared to undertake the additional costs" associated with opening up the services to students not enrolled in district schools.

This is a strong-arm tactic to try and get more parents to reject homeschooling so that their kids can have access to these activities. However, it is my firm belief that it is not worth it.

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