Home and Nonpublic School Student Participation in Public School Extracurricular Activities
IMPORTANT: This information page is related ONLY to a recent change in Montana law that allows home and nonpublic school students to participate in public school 'Extracurricular Activities' (that includes sports, band, etc). (There have been a lot of questions regarding this new law, and this page focused on answering them.) Still, there are many other options for sports participation beside public schools. Many home schooling communities across Montana have organized home school teams, leagues and events. Local support groups and newsletters often have more information on those sport activities and participation rules and guidelines.
On April 28, 2021 Montana's Governor Gianforte signed SB157 (Senator Hinebauch) into law: 'Allow nonpublic students to participate in public school extracurriculars'. SB157 took effect July 1, 2021.
(An important note: SB157 relates to both HOME and NONPUBLIC Schools in Montana)
Officially (October, 2021), SB157 is now 20-5-112 MCA in Montana's law books.
OPI Legal Staff have developed a K-12 policy document for the implementation of SB157:
Also, the Montana High School Association (MHSA) membership have met and formally modified their rules in accord with the newly passed law. In a recent letter to MHSA members, Mr. Mark Beckman (Executive Director) included the below points:
Nonpublic or home school students who meet the requirement of MCA 20-5-109 can participate in MHSA member school extra- curricular activities.
The same standards for participation must be met as those required of full time students enrolled in the school – except they are not required to be enrolled or attend.
The student and his/her entire family must live in your school attendance area – there is no transfer or out of attendance area participation for nonpublic or home school students.
Nonpublic or home school students cannot participate in summer organized practices / open gym-fields etc. until July 1 and their entire family must live in your school attendance area and they must verbally commit to the activity they are planning to participate in.
All MHSA rules must be met – academic, age, semester, non-graduate etc., except enrollment and attendance. See eligibility checklist for specific information.
OPI will be providing information on how ANB (SB 72) will be provided to schools for home school and nonpublic school participants.
In addition, the following documents include their rules changes, and an 'Eligibility Checklist' to help member schools in implementing the new law:
NOTE: The above information relates only to high school age students. OPI's separate policy includes K-8 grades.
If you have any questions regarding these participation guidelines, you should contact your local public school district administration.