EATON — Eaton Community Board of Education discussed the student handbook and policy on athletics during its meeting on Monday, March 9.
Board President Lisa Noble opened the floor during old business. Board member Darrell Durham read from section VIII. Co-Curricular and Extra-Curricular Activities of the Student/Parent Handbook.
He read, “The Board of Education and administration recognize that both co-curricular and extra-curricular activities are a valuable part of the student’s total educational experience. It is important to remember, however, that membership in these activities is a privilege, and student participants will have higher levels of behavioral expectations placed upon them. Participants in co/extra-curricular activities serve as representatives of the school and community, and they are expected to serve as role models in the areas of leadership, character, and dependability.”
He then shared his opinion that academics should not restrict students from athletics and the GPA standard of 1.5 should be lowered. He argued that participating in athletics require time and effort and keeps children from being involved in more “detrimental activities.”
“Students involved in athletics occupy time otherwise devoted to under-productive or in some cases detrimental activities. In some cases, some students do not graduate because of this,” he said.
He mentioned the previous presentation given to the board from South Community and Preble County Mental Health and Recovery Board, noting some children join athletics seeking another “family.”
“Some [children] come from broken homes, others have other difficulties, but they are seeking a different kind of family. Participating in athletics can be that for them,” he said.
Durham added, having been a coach, he has seen students unable to meet grade requirements, but succeeding in athletics. He called the policy a “roadblock” and pointed out that students with low GPA – as long as they receive a passing grade – receive the same diploma as their peers.
He asked the board to consider revising the student/parent handbook at the next board meeting to be more inclusive to students who who cannot meet the GPA requirement.
Other board members did not share the same viewpoint.
“I do agree that athletics are very important, but I also found that the student athlete would work to the higher standard, especially during their sport season. I always found them during their season to be even a better student, so I found that as a positive thing and would not want to see want to see the GPA dropped,” Board President Noble said.
Board Vice-President Eric Beeghly asked Superintendent Jeff Parker for additional information about the policy and its potential restriction on students. He also shared his opinion on the potential of changing the policy.
“Darrell, I appreciate your passion for this. I look at this as [the students needing] to shoot above it and set an example by getting the grades,” he said. “For me, I think 1.5 [GPA requirement] is fair.”
Board member Ben Myers views the policy as an incentive for students to “work hard.”
He said, “I think athletics are good and students learn teamwork, but 1.5 is a good standard not to drop – if anything, we should see about increasing. I don’t think it is a punishment to those students.”
Terry Parks agreed with the majority of his peers, based on his own coaching experience.
“Lowering the requirements is not something I was interested in and is something I’m still not interested in. To me, if it meant anything to them, they would take care of the grades. Playing athletics is not something that is guaranteed, it is a privilege,” he said.
Noble explained, they would need a majority vote at the next board meeting to change the student/parent handbook policy from 1.5 GPA requirement to 1.0 GPA requirement.
Reach Kelsey Kimbler at 937-683-4061 or on Twitter @KKimbler_RH