District tackles sports team member policy

CHATHAM – The school board appointed John Thorsen principal of the high school this week. Mr. Thorsen, who has been acting principal for the last few months, replaces retired Principal Ronald Davis. Mr. Thorsen was the assistant principal and had been a co-principal with Mr. Davis last year.

“We’re all excited to have Mr. T in the big office,” said Taylor Wenk, the student representative on the board.


The board also discussed the issue of younger students playing on varsity teams at the September 14 meeting. In August, several parents attended a board meeting to ask the board to review the policy that middle school students can be moved up to play on high school teams, displacing high school students. Parents felt that students should be allowed to move up but felt strongly that they should not replace returning high school athletes.

At that August 10 meeting, board member and Policy Committee Chairman Mike Clark said the committee had reviewed the policy thoroughly and did not plan to change it significantly. Schools Superintendent Cheryl Nuciforo said that she had gone over policies with coaches, looking at all the sports programs in the district. She said they updated policies that dealt with favoritism, discipline and raiding JV teams to fill out varsity teams.

At last Tuesday’s meeting board members said they felt the policy is fair. Board Vice-President Elizabeth Macfarlane said that no one is guaranteed a place on a team.

“If you are eligible to try out for the team, you can try out for the team,” said Mr. Clark. He also pointed out that returning players might be replaced by transferring students or a high school students who try out later in their school career, not just by younger students. He also said that age and skill are just a two of the many criteria that coaches use when selecting players.

Taylor weighed in, saying she agreed with the board policies but that it was a difficult decision. She said the soccer team she plays on cut a junior team member but there is an 8th grader on the team. “I think everyone is fair game,” she said.

Ms. Nuciforo said that though it was difficult to create a policy asking coaches to be more sensitive to the issue, they had spent a lot of time over the summer discussing the issue. “They are things we have to pay attention to,” she said of the issue.

The next board meeting will be Tuesday, September 28 at 6:30 p.m. in the High School Library.

To contact reporter Emilia Teasdale email .

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