Student Denied Permission to FRC by Board of "Education"

It has recently come to my attention that a student in New England has been denied access by his town’s Board of “Education” to participate on their FRC team, despite the fact that they allow him to play on the school’s tennis team. This absolutely breaks my heart as NEFIRST is my second family, and I know how spectacular team 1740 is. It appears that the team would love to have him as they are a smaller team yet the board won’t allow it. Here is his statement and a link to the petition. I would be absolutely gutted if they have to miss the build season because of an outdated policy.

Thank You and Happy New Year


The more support we get from the FIRST community the more likely we can get the change he and his team deserves :heart_hands:

Petition to Allow More Ledyard Children to Participate in the LHS Robotics Team (


While I would like to see a solution here that allows interested students to be involved in FRC, please understand that it isn’t that easy. I don’t know the situation there, but I do know that our team is required to have similar restrictions. When we have gone down this path, some good reasons have come up for why these policies are in place:

(1) Insurance is a huge one. Outside of school/district students are not covered by the school’s insurance.

(2) Supervision of outside of district students by a teacher/district employee. There is a lot of training and policies that district employees go through. Yes, all public employees go through the same types of training - but they are not the same.

I will be watching this thread, curious to see any solutions.


This won’t be of much help, but down the road from you in Shelton, CT you can’t be on team 230 unless:

  1. You attend Shelton High School.
  2. You have a detectable pulse.

Those are the only 2 requirements.

No amount of song and dance has achieved any movement on condition #1. No student living in Shelton but attending any of the area private or magnet schools may be on Team 230. That’s how it is as long as we are formally affiliated with the high school.


I just find it BS that they will allow him to play on the tennis team but not join the FRC team…


Which is the same with 1153 as when we go to comp it is technically a school trip, it’s a similar scenario as to what happened to my friend when she switched to a private school after her sophomore year, luckily 2079 welcomed her with open arms and it was a perfect match.


That right there is the problem.

The school board is saying, specifically, “we’re fine with this person playing tennis for us, but we don’t want them playing robots for us.”

The only logical explanation would be that their robotics team is classed as a “club” not a “team”.

Wonder what would happen if the affected person(s) withdrew from the tennis team suddenly.


For our team, since we are deemed a Learning Center and a program sponsored by 21 CCLC, we are able to accept students from other schools, just not home school. Home school students get a voucher (money) from the State, thus making them ineligible to attend any program the school offers.
21 CCLC programs exist in every State if you are able to get the grant. AND Robotics has to fall under it as one of its programs.
Its too bad since we are in a rural, “far” away location, we dont get too many requests from students outside our school to come.

We have a joint swim team of three local schools, and that is usually my go to explanation of how we can have others in the program. We’ve though usually not rocked the boat too much on the topic of homeschool or other students, and so far hasn’t been an issue for us. But we also were more community based team before being housed in a school facility.

Same for 3128. If you aren’t a currently enrolled student at Canyon Crest Academy (public high school), you can’t be on 3128…

(Not a school rule- not a team rule - this is a rule from the school 501c3. Do NOT get me started).


Same here. You can play on another districted school’s sports team but not any other extracurriculars. We’re a magnet high school and this was really upsetting to some of my students who wanted friends from neighboring high schools to join our FRC team. It makes no sense, and I don’t see it changing since our school board seems more interested in banning books and harming our LGBTQ+ kids.

Our school is a public school and allows both high schools to be on the same team. Also, the school lets home schooled kids and out of district kids in. Which I am now finding out that it’s more rare than I thought.

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It’s almost like public schools are intended to be a network of facilities with similar funding and thus the ability to share resources and students between programs. Acting like a “walled garden” private school benefits…? I don’t think it’s the average taxpayer.

It used to be fairly common to send students to other schools in the district or even other districts if their own didn’t have a program for the sport or type of instrument they play. This seems to have mostly disappeared, for whatever reason.


Definitely not an ideal situation but as JSteel already has identified, the issues are whether the robotics program is being treated as just a club vs a team sports.

Things that need to be figured out (from the student POV):

  1. Funding differences between team sport vs club. In almost all cases, club are normally no dues (that goes to the school) and each club is normally run by a teacher using school/district provided funding (usually not a large amount). Most team sports funding is significantly different/higher and has a larger student fees to help offset and some even have booster for additional funding.
  2. Insurance - during local meeting and travel

Remember in NH, we have the highly charged topic of ‘funding’ from local vs state…and the whole topic of donor town, etc.

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Insurance could very well be the difference.

In Michigan, the HS Athletic Association provides insurance for teams:

So unless robotics is a recognized HS “sport”, the insurance wouldn’t apply. That could be similar in other states.

I presume school district policies for non-sports activities would include insurance, but only for their district students.


If insurance is the problem, could an additional insured endorsement be the solution?

An endorsement is a (usually standard-form) modification to the policy, and in this case it would benefit the party lacking insurance by extending limited coverage to them as an additional insured under the policy of the party with insurance. There may be a nominal fee payable to the insurer. There might also be an existing endorsement to the insurance policy that automatically extends additional insured status to anyone with a contract with the insured that requires it.

I assume the party lacking insurance is the Ledyard board of education (in that their insurance covers only students of their schools), and that MSMHS (or its board) has insurance for its own students during its own activities. A possible course of action would be to contact the MSMHS business office or principal and ask them about what coverage the school carries with respect to student activities, and whether they consider it acceptable to extend that coverage to the activities in question (e.g. extracurriculars for which no substitute is available in the school where the student is enrolled, but which are available in the other school district).

The efficient big-picture way to effectuate this might be a reciprocal agreement between boards covering all such cases, but the fast and acceptable way might be an agreement between principals regarding this instance (since they ought to have some authority to approve small agreements without involving the whole school board).

I guess another, hyperspecific, way to solve this would be for the student’s legal guardian to obtain an insurance policy covering the student, and name the board as an additional insured. (Still need to talk to the Ledyard principal or business office to understand the limits of insurance required.)


I really don’t see that that is a “small” thing. First, I seriously doubt the Principals have any power to make agreements outside of their school district. That would absolutely be the responsibility of the Superintendent’s office, and would absolutely involve the district’s lawyers.

Also, again, I don’t see that the student’s guardian could purchase appropriate insurance. From the school’s point of view, it would need to cover not just injuries to the particular student, but coverage if the team, mentors, and by extension the school district, were sued for some reason connected to the student. (I guess you did note that, but that seems a pretty high/expensive bar.)

I feel for the student in question, but lots of teams in New England are tied to schools (not community) and by going to a special school, the student (and family) are also agreeing to give up activities run by the public school. Our team is only allowed to serve students who are directly connected to our high schools (incl. home schoolers supervised by the school); students who live in the district but attend private schools are just out of luck. The outlier here, it seems to me, is the participation in tennis, but presumably sports is under different rules, as others have suggested.


One of the reasons we started a community team. 60 students from 27 schools including home schooled kids.


In Connecticut the Technical Schools and publicly funded magnet and charter schools are considered Public Schools of Choice. In most cases students at a Public School of Choice are allowed to take part in activities at their “home school” (the public high school the student would have attended). They’re actually eligible to even play varsity athletics at their “home school” if their school of choice doesn’t offer it under CIAC rules.

Basically, the state board of education or the local school districts that send students to these schools are paying for them as well so they get special treatment compared to students who are home schooled or go to a private school.

I went to a technical high school in CT and at least back then a student being denied to join their local schools FRC or athletics team was pretty rare. The local school makes the final decision but for the most part we were treated as if we were students in the district for stuff like this (and why I was allowed to join my town’s high school FRC team). Now, the exceptions that I knew about involved my friends not being able to leave our school and get to practice at their local schools on time for football.

To me something seems wrong here if they’re letting the student play tennis but not participate in FRC. It could be insurance but I’d be interested to see what / if the school board response is.


I truly feel your frustration. Being a school supported team we are forbidden to accept any out of district students.
The district extends this law to include students that attend private schools within our district.