New Jersey's 16th Legislative District

Senator Kip Bateman

Senator Kip Bateman

Now Law: Varsity Letter Bill Sponsored by Allen & Bateman

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High school students in New Jersey who compete in activities other than athletics will also have the opportunity to earn varsity letters, now that a bill sponsored by Senate Republicans Diane Allen and Kip Bateman has become law.

Legislation by Sen. Kip Bateman and Sen. Diane Allen expands the opportunity for students to earn varsity letters. (Wikimedia Commons)

“The amount of school spirit, team work and dedication it takes to earn a varsity letter cannot be understated or undervalued,” Senator Allen (R-Burlington) said. “There are champions deserving of varsity letters in classrooms throughout New Jersey – and they aren’t all athletes. Now that our bill has become law, I hope more schools will take advantage of this opportunity encourage our students to excel in every aspect of their lives.”

“We see it happen every season. Athletes and musicians work together to win competitions and build school spirit – but more often than not, only one of these groups gets to wear a Letterman’s jacket after the game,” Senator Bateman (R-Somerset, Mercer, Hunterdon, Middlesex) said. “All of these students put in the same time and energy. Honoring artistic and academic competitors in the same meaningful way we honor athletes is the right thing to do.”

S-2398 became law on Monday, May 8, 2017. The bill was approved by both houses of the Legislature on March 23, 2017. The law provides that school districts may adopt a policy allowing high school students who participate in any school-sponsored, interscholastic extracurricular activities that include competitions to earn a varsity letter awarded by the district.

Each board of education may choose the sports and activities for which a student may be eligible to receive a varsity letter. Although the new law would not require schools to give out varsity letters to students who compete in extracurricular activities outside of athletics, the Senators are hopeful that this law will encourage them to do so.

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