Alabama House approves 'Tim Tebow' bill

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MONTGOMERY, Ala. (AP) — The Alabama House of Representatives voted Thursday to allow home-school students to play on public school sports teams and participate in school extracurricular activities.

Representatives approved the bill on a 52-43 vote. The bill now moves to the Alabama Senate.

The legislation is named after Tim Tebow, the Heisman-winning University of Florida quarterback who played for his local high school while being home-schooled.

"I think this is good for the home-school children to have some social interaction with the public school kids and I think it is good for the public school kids to have some social interaction with these home-school kids. I think it's good for all the children," Rep. Mike Ball, R-Madison.

Opposed lawmakers said those families made a choice not to enroll in public school and shouldn't expect access to the public school activities that they like.

"We make a choice of whether we want to attend public school or not attend. We make a choice whether to compete or not compete. To have your cake and eat it too, that's something strange here," Rep. Thomas Jackson, D-Thomasville, said.

The legislation has been pushed for many years without success.

Students would have to submit a portfolio of work or take a standardized test to demonstrate they are meeting the school's academic standards. Schools can refuse children if they don't have room.

"We've listened to a lot of the concerns," Ball said.

"I know there will be some school systems that will be very receptive to it and try to accommodate them if they can. Some schools won't be very receptive," Ball said.

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