Steven and Annette DeNies say their daughter always hoped to be part of the Iroquois High School musical, but the high school junior finds herself barred from even trying out for the play because she is home schooled, and district policy forbids her participation.
The School Board, which already has debated the issue, expects to address do so again at its meeting at 7 p.m. today in the Iroquois Intermediate School cafeteria.
Both parents have addressed the board in recent months, asking officials to revise the policy, but the request has led board members through a tangle of issues.
For example: Should a home-schooled student be allowed to edge out an Iroquois student from a competitive club like Mock Trial or Model UN? And what if a club adviser has to cancel a meeting last minute and is unable to reach a home-schooled club member?
Then there are worries over disciplinary action should a behavior problem arise.
Board members have been struggling to find a fair solution. They said they thought allowing home-schooled students to participate in noncompetitive clubs only, including the musical, fit the bill. But school attorneys cautioned Superintendent Douglas Scofield against that solution, advising the district should allow full participation or none in its extracurricular clubs.
At the last board meeting, board member Suzanne Wolff expressed her disappointment. “It had sounded like a great compromise. Now this puts us in a tough situation.”
Board members Thomas DiScipio and Charles Specht support including home-schooled students in Iroquois clubs, noting they are members of the community and their parents are taxpayers. DiScipio said he didn’t agree with the attorneys but respected their opinion, while Specht said the district should go ahead with the plan of allowing home-schooled students to participate in some clubs but not others, despite the legal advice.
But Board President David Lowrey is concerned about precedent.
“We know of no other school in New York State that does this,” he said earlier this week.
Lowrey has asked extracurricular school advisers to complete a survey on how, or if, including home-schooled students would impact club procedures.