Sitting It Out
"No pass, no play" isn't a new idea. For years, school districts have been requiring high school athletes to maintain basic academic standards in order to suit up for the game. But in one Texas school district, simply attending football games as a spectator could soon require passing grades. The same goes for band concerts and other extracurriculars. The superintendent of DeSoto schools says this "No pass, no attend" policy is only in the "thinking out loud" stages, but parents and students are already choosing up sides. Brittany Jackson, a 9th grader, was outraged at the proposal. "Just because a student doesn't make grades doesn't mean they can't cheer on their team," she said. "That's crazy." Many parents supported the idea of greater consequences for students' academic performance, but were wary about how the policy would be enforced. Tom Hutton, staff attorney for the National Association of School Boards, said he understands the district's desire to motivate students. But he called the proposal "an administrative nightmare," and questioned its legality. The legal director at the Texas Association of School Boards said the plan would fly, legally, as long as failing students weren't publicly identified. But then, their absense at the Big Game could speak volumes.