Students should not be penalized
Soon after the growing trend towards charter schools began, the Legislature passed a law requiring that students in those schools be allowed to participate in their home district schools' extracurricular activities - sports, band, chorus, plays and so on.
The law was necessary because many districts precluded charter school students from participating, holding that such activities are part of what distinguishes conventional public schools from public charter schools. True enough, but lawmakers correctly concluded that participation by the students was the important issue.
Public districts pay tuition for resident students who attend charter schools, including those conducted over the Internet. School boards and administrators have just complaints about the inequities of the funding formula. But that should not result in penalizing students.
The Patriot News of Harrisburg reported this week on the West Shore School District refusing to allow a local senior attending a cyber school to attend the Cedar Cliff High School prom. The district characterized the prom as a social event rather than as an activity covered by state law.
Regardless of the funding formula or the relative merits of conventional and charter schools, students should be allowed to attend the prom. The Legislature shouldn't have to take up that matter, but it might be necessary to redefine an extracurricular activity as any event planned or supervised by the school.