By: Krystle Crossman
Mary Mellinger knew that there would be challenges when she home-schooled her two oldest sons on their dairy farm. She didn’t realize the toll that just one particular challenge would take on the family. She kept them home because she wanted them to be able to spend more time with the family and be able to be taught around Christian values. Everything was great with the exception of the one thing that she could not give them at home. Her sons, Abram and Andrew, wanted more than anything to play sports.
In the school district that they lived in the schools do not allow kids who are in home-school to join the athletic teams. After seeing how devastated that her sons were about this she sent them back to public school so that they could play the sports they wanted. She said that she and her husband were broken up about it and grieved for a long time about the fact that they were losing time with their sons. She didn’t feel that it was fair because they paid their taxes just like anyone else.
The story of the Mellingers caught attention and other parents are taking action to try and change this situation. There are now 14 bills that are in state legislature to demand that schools offer extracurricular activities such as football, hockey, and other sports as well as band and choir. There are 14 states currently that already have this mandate but the other states leave it up to the district to decide. Most of the districts claim that they don’t have the funding because the children that are home-schooled are a loss of funding to the schools. Even parents that do not want their kids to join these activities say that the families that do want to participate shouldn’t be denied.