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LTE: Loudoun Home-schooler Calls Tebow Bill Fair

The young writer points to a friend, and son of a former NFL pro, who would like to participate in public school sports.

Hello, 

My name is John LaRock. I am 11 years old, and live near Leesburg where my parents home-school me and my brothers and sisters. I love sports. My friend Jay (who is also home-schooled) and I play lots of football. We both would love to play in college and even in the pros someday. That may sound pretty far off but Jay’s dad, James Thrash, played in the NFL and Jay would like to follow in his footsteps.

Home-schooling is not for everybody. It takes a huge commitment of time, patience and other resources. (Thanks Mom and Dad).  Public schooling is not for everybody either, and yet those parents who choose a different educational environment for their children still pay hard earned dollars for public education. My Dad calls that “Taxation without Participation” and considers it to be unfair.

The Tebow Bill, House Bill 1442, passed this year in the Virginia House of Delegates 56-43. I was there to see the vote. It seemed like the people against it were making things up to make the bill look bad. Home-schooled kids are not going to steal other kids’ spots on a team; we would earn a spot that our parents have helped pay for. We are learning and studying just like public school kids and that is a fact. The grading standards vary in many public schools, so that is not a reason to exclude us. We are not sickly or disruptive, and we are welcome in public libraries, public events and we contribute more as we learn and interact with others. Tim Tebow is proof of what home-schooling can do for a person.

Please ask Senator Blevins to vote for this bill. It only asks that sports organizers like the VHSL not be allowed to discriminate against normal and hard-working children just because our parents teach us at home. If the law blocks this unfair practice it will cost nothing. VHSL would just change their unfair rules and stop excluding kids like me, and then local school boards could make the final decision as they see fit.

Senator Blevins is a former principal. I do hope he will listen to his heart and to reason and then use his experience and his vote to solve this and not be part of the group wants to keep me and my friend Jay, and 32,000 other home-school children out of public-school sports across the Commonwealth.

Thanks to News 4 in Washington for interviewing Jay and John (me) and letting people know what this is about.

John LaRock and Jay Thrash

pete mckenna February 14, 2013 at 10:24 PM
RICHMOND, Va. (AP) - The so-called Tebow bill - legislation that would allow home-schooled children to play varsity sports for teams at public schools they choose not to attend - has been thrown for a loss in Virginia's Senate. There is no "injustice". You want, or your child wants, the best of both worlds. The ability to home school and the privilidge of playing for the local school which you have decided is unworthy of attending or not up to your standards. That is the injustice. Your argument is without merit. Read more: http://www.wjla.com/articles/2013/02/-tebow-bill-sacked-in-va-senate--85234.html#ixzz2KulzDbE5
Jonathan Weintraub February 22, 2013 at 01:31 PM
Mr. LaRock, It's nice to see that you are following in your father's activist political footsteps. You may want to investigate your heroes. Mainstream America finds Tim Tebow controversial. Jesus condemned public, showy prayer, the type that Tebow promotes. Mr. Tebow also pals around with groups that are obsessed with controlling other people's lives, groups that abuse religious conviction to justify ignorance and hatred. That ignorance is more difficult to maintain when you're exposed to diverse groups of people and have a chance to see for yourself what they are really like. Tim Tebow just cancelled or more likely delayed an appearance at a controversial Dallas megachurch, not because he thought there was anything wrong with Robert Jeffress's message, but because the media exposed the visit. It is no wonder that right-wing lobby groups and their candidates in the House and Senate have been backing this bill and promoting Tim Tebow as a spokesperson for a certain brand of home school lifestyle. http://www.advocate.com/politics/religion/2013/02/21/tim-tebow-wont-talk-unconditional-love-antigay-church
David A. LaRock February 22, 2013 at 01:48 PM
Jonathan, maybe someday we can have a friendly conversation and look at your ideas and some other ideas on what is going on with this. Open to that? https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7y2KsU_dhwI
Jonathan Weintraub February 23, 2013 at 12:36 AM
Apologies to readers for this off-topic thread. David, Regarding friendly conversation, the "180" Movie link may be a good starting point. I think we could easily promote a broader community conversation. Since the movie opens with Nazi Germany, I'd recommend we discuss Himmler's phrase, "Menschentiere" (human animals). I believe I can get commitment from a church to host a forum. I'm sure you can secure a venue yourself. We need to have at least one in each district.
pete mckenna February 27, 2013 at 07:05 PM
Gentlemen, I can't stay away from this thread. How the film 180 entered into the conversation is only known to the person who posted it. I seriously wonder if the letter attributed to john LaRock was, in fact, written by John LaRock or his parent. I wonder if James Thrash is aware of his name being dropped in the letter to attempt to prove or strengthen a point. The James Thrash that I have met through youth sports does not come across as someone deeply involved in this issue and certainly has the means to send his children to public or private schools without regard to belief and which offer athletics. Sandy Koufax dealt with his religion by not playing on holy days. He made a choice and dealt with the consequences. Mr. LaRock has made a choice for his children's education but does not want to deal with the consequences. May we stay on point about monitoring home schooled children with regard to VHSL rules on participation please?! There is no way to level the playing field without weakening the standards by which Loudoun County students participate. Of course, we could make the home schooled child stay on pace with the subject matter presented in the schools, attend the schools on test day, and attend the school on game day. I am guessing that every one of the parents who home school would not agree to this approach.

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