Hayden At the request of parents, the Hayden School Board is considering relaxing its current academic eligibility policy for students who want to participate in sports.
"We will definitely reconsider the policy," board member Kathy Hockin said. "Using the same kind of rules we use on adults for kids, doesn't always work."
At the last school board meeting, parents Eva and Ken Gibbon approached the board with concerns about the current policy.
"We respectfully ask that the school board reconsider its policy of eligibility," Mr. Gibbon said. "I can live with the 2.0 grade point average minimum. It's the semester-long ineligibility that's a problem."
Right now, Hayden students must maintain a 2.0 GPA and maintain passing grades in all classes to be eligible to play sports.
If a student athlete's GPA drops below 2.0, or that student fails a class, he or she loses sports eligibility for one full semester.
"Five kids have missed eligibility based on grades this year, and they won't be able to play sports next semester," Mrs. Gibbon said. "It's a good thing to give these kids every opportunity to play, and a whole semester to wait is too long."
Sports offer students motivation to stay on track, the Gibbons said. Their son, Luke, missed eligibility by one point in one class.
"He got a 73 percent in one class," Mrs. Gibbon said. "If he'd gotten a 74, he'd be able to play. One point, not just in my son's life, but in all of them, can make such a difference?"
The Gibbons also said the school attendance policy, which does not allow for more than eight absences for any reason during a semester, is not being upheld fairly.
Points are deducted for additional absences.
"There was inaccurate record-keeping," Mrs. Gibbon said. "Teachers admitted they made mistakes."
Becky Stevenson, whose son Derrick lost eligibility under similar circumstances, also was at the meeting supporting the Gibbons.
"Derrick has always been on the honor roll. This was a really hard year for him. He's ready to beg to play football," she said. "He's willing to do anything."
The Gibbons and Stevenson argued that playing sports can help keep their kids motivated. Instead of punishing students for an entire semester, they suggested instituting a weekly eligibility requirement as a goal that would be worth working for.
"Dangle a carrot not too far and they'll reach for it because they can see it," Mr. Gibbon said.
"The kids knew this policy, knew what was going on and what could happen. A lot of growth can happen in one summer with a teen-ager. Waiting until a year from now to play football may be too long," he added.
School board member Hockin agreed.
"I really do think sometimes that a carrot can be too far to do a kid any good," she said.
The school board agreed to reconsider the plan as soon as high school principal Nick Schafer returns from New Zealand. In the meantime, board members will be researching the policies used in Oak Creek, Steamboat and Walden.
There will be a full discussion on the matter at next month's school board meeting. That meeting is scheduled for July 19 at the school district administration offices conference room in Hayden.
To reach Bonnie Nadzam call 871-4205 or e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org