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Board passes reading of revisions to student eligibility

June 09, 2005|by KAREN HANNA

karenh@herald-mail.com

High school athletes and other students involved in extracurricular activities will be expected to step up to the plate academically after the Washington County Board of Education passed on first reading revisions to eligibility requirements.

According to the policy, which must be approved by the board on second reading to go into effect, students who take fewer than four credits in a grading period will be ineligible if they fail one course.

The policy always has disqualified students who fail two or more classes. That rule stays in effect for students with four or more credits.

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Board Vice President Jacqueline Fischer suggested board members consider making only students who pass all classes eligible for high school extracurricular activities.

Board member Wayne Ridenour, a former high school baseball and basketball coach, cast the lone vote against the revisions.

"Putting kids in a situation where one course, one mistake, and you're pulled from that activity ... doesn't make a whole lot of sense," Ridenour said.

Ridenour said he disagreed with eligibility requirements, since for many students, extracurricular activities are the only reason they attend school. He said he was concerned that students would be discouraged from taking challenging courses because of their desire to remain eligible for activities.

"Personally, I think we would be better served by keeping our kids involved in these programs," Ridenour said.

Boyd Michael, executive director of secondary education, said with six grading periods, students have ample opportunity to regain eligibility. Fewer and fewer coaches, he said, are in the schools during the day to make sure athletes are fulfilling their obligations.

The chance to participate motivates some students to do better, Michael said.

"I think, in all fairness, our mission is to educate kids, and this is a fair balance," board member Edward Forrest said.

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