Not only were they reinstated, students who were not allowed to try out for a sport because of grades will have a tryout for teams, some already established.
The school board held a special meeting on Thursday night, after the team's first football game of the season to determine if the existing student sports policy was fair and handled uniformly.
Tarik Ayasun, board president, told the crowd of parents and Charter football players the special meeting was not to change the policy, but to see if it was handled fairly and what could be done to see if there were mitigating circumstances that caused th poor grades.
The policy says that to participate in after school sports programs, the student must have a minimum grade-point average (GPA) of 2.25 and no more than one "D" and no "F." regardless of subject. Eligibility is determined by the last report card grade, which in this case was just before summer vacation.
The six players had GPA's ranging from 2.7 to 3.2, but had two D's or an F.
The communications problem came when the board learned that the sports participation handbooks had not been delivered to members of the football team for the parents to sign. Parents at the meeting said they did not know of the handbook and only became aware when the students were reported ineligible.
In the case of football, which began in the spring, the third report card period was used to determine eligibility. At the time the six were eligible. However, when the school and football season started, the fourth report card period kicked in and they were ruled ineligible.
It appears recognition of ineligibility comes after tryout sheets are turned in. Then handbooks are delivered to players on each team.
At the beginning of every school year each student receives a student agenda. Most of it is the do's and don'ts for students, but it also contains athletic eligibility requirements. It is not as in-depth as the handbook, but clearly states the eligibility requirements.
However, parents do not receive the information directly and the agenda book does not have to be signed by parents and returned.
The major hitch appears to be after the fourth report card period. Parents received report cards in mid June. It would have noted the student's grades, but also final passing grade point. All passed their subjects.
The GPA requirement, rather than by grade, was favored by parents and two board members. County public schools have no sports eligibility policy.
Board board member Lisa Meurgue said she called or checked websites of the top 20 rated middle schools in the state. The Charter School is ranked 25th, the highest rating in the county.
Meurgue said five schools did not respond, one was the same as Charter School, one had no eligibility requirement, one required at least a C, not a GPA, two schools used a GPA of 2.5 and a student cannot have an F; 10 schools have a 2.0 GPA and one used a 2.0 GPA, with no more than one F and one was 2.0, with a stipulation that if the student had a failing grade the student wa not eligible until the student was passing the subject in question.
The crowd hushed when one of the football players suspended began to speak. He tried to tell the board how he didn't feel it was fair to be judged on one report card period. He broke into tears while trying to explain how badly he felt and how he didn't want to let his team, or anyone down.
However, Ayasun reminded everyone that the policy was not up for discussion, that it will remain the same.
The board expressed concern over how and when the parents of children playing sports receive the handbook.
The board all agreed to reinstate the football players, placing them on probation.
Athletic Director Roger Raymond suggested that such a reinstatement should include all fall sports. Some sports started after school began and Raymond notified some students that they were ineligible when thy signed the tryout sheet.
"We need to be fair to everyone," he said. "Four girls were not allowed to try out for volleyball,(for example)," he said. "I think anyone who was ruled ineligible should get the same treatment and get to try out for the team." While a student will get a chance to try out, The question then came to what a coach who had already selected the team was to do. Some teams have already begun competition.
"I don't know the answer, but it will give the athlete a chance," said Raymond said.
The board agreed to allow those students the same treatment as the football players.
Finally, the board agreed to reinstate all who involved in fall sports. However, all were placed on probation, having to have favorable grades by the interim report card period, which ends Sept. 16.
It also decided to have an appeals board that included Principal George Abounader, Assistant Principal Mark Albanese and two teachers. One or both of the teachers had to be the teacher that gave the student the poor grade. Mitigating circumstances also could be included, which means family, tragedy, anything that might upset a student for a report car period.
Issuance of the handbook to athletes now will have to be signed by parents, or guardians and returned to school before the athletes play in a game.
The football team did win the closely contested game with Community School, 16-12.