Tuesday, April 08, 2008

Your Child's Right to Participate or Sue?

The AD is attending the MO state athletic directors' meetings this week. He called to say there has been a very interesting and troubling bill introduced in the that fine legislative body known as the Missouri House of Representatives. HB 1802, sponsored by Rep. Kevin Wilson (R) of Neosho, is summarized as follows:

HB 1802 -- Hearings on a Student's Right to Participate in Activities
Sponsor: Wilson (130)
This bill applies to schools that are members of an activity
association that regulates extracurricular activities and
specifies that the appeal of a ruling on student eligibility for
extracurricular activities may bypass the administrative hearing
process as long as due process has been observed. Due process
includes the right to a new trial in circuit court.

What does this mean? Well, let's suppose your little Johnny or Janie didn't make final cuts for the JV basketball team, was kicked off the swim team for breaking school established rules, or transferred from School X to School Y for some reason and was ruled ineligible to participate in athletics for 1 year by current MSHAA transfer rules. If said school was a member of MSHAA (and most schools in a state are members of some administrative body), then you could take that coach/administrator/school to court, for a hearing before a judge only (trial de novo) and the judge could be the only and final arbiter of the issue. This bill would gut the authority of the coach, school or the state activity association to govern these activities.

Do you believe participation in education-based activities (particularly competitive sport/music/debate activities) is a right? Or is it a privilege to be earned and a part of growing up in a world where we don't always get what we want or expect? Is it a part of learning that when one door closes, maybe another one opens? Or an opportunity to discover we sometimes learn the most from our mistakes? If this bill passes and is signed into law in MO, Mr. Wilson and Co. can be assured it will be the last day the Coaches Fober (and many others) choose to work in the realm of high school sports in Missouri.

If you think finding funding and personnel for activities is a big challenge for schools, legislation like this could be the straw that breaks the proverbial camel's back and leads some schools to simply eliminate competitive, extracurricular activities all-together.


mattpalozola said...

i know many people, myself included,who have always thought mshaa was out of their minds

The Iron Maven said...

In what respect?

Tracker47 said...

I actually think the current sports program system has no place in public schools, so I think the change may be a good thing. Spending school $ to benefit the kids who need it the least (those already fit/skilled enough to make the team) leaves the kids who really NEED some phys-ed out. What if we spent all kinds of money on reading classes and only allowed those first graders who already know how to read?

Anonymous said...

Tracker, you are an idiot.

You are just the sort of nut that sucks the joy out of all things good and character-building because "someone might get their feelings hurt". Schools pander enough to the lowest common denominator. Time to reward hard work and leave sports as a place of *true* accomplishment.

Joe P. said...

This is not a good thing. It turns your interscholastic athletic teams into an after school rec league. I am going to create a new term here. "VEAL". The student that looks like they've been tied up in a box to make their muscles tender. Bone density O. The athletic trainer's nightmare. They get hurt warming up, and it's like, where do I start my rehab? That is what you will get. Anonymous was callous, but correct in that MSHAA is lowering the bar.

tracker47 said...

Idiot?... You've been talking to my wife, I guess! the post following the one that called me an idiot reinforces my point. The SUPPOSED purpose of public schools is supposed to be for the KIDS, (yes, even the lowest-common-denominator ones), not to promote sport or the system or whatever... so a rec league would serve that purpose BETTER than a highly-selective and successful athletic school team. I am extremely athletic and so are my kids, but some of their friends are not: They would be much better served by a "rec league" that TAUGHT them active lifestyle rather than getting square-dancing lessons during gym class and getting invited to WATCH the school football game.

Anonymous said...

I am starting to realize how fortunate our community is. Our district has competitive varsity sports and, yes, there are kids who get cut. But, the high school has a huge intramural program with a wide variety of sports. Particpation is higher in the intramural than the interscholastic programs in every season. Nearly 200 kids are playing intramural BB now. It also allows varsity athletes who want play a second or third sport to do so without having to always be at the highest level. And, every kid is in PE through grade 10. It's not perfect but it's better than a lot of what I am hearing goes on out there. Fortunately we haven't had to make a choice.

The issue of filing a lawsuit because I don't think my kid should have been cut serves neither the kid nor the program. What's next ... sue the referee because I don't like the call?

T Clark