JAY — A row of 21 Spruce Mountain Excessive College college students lined the curbside of their college’s entrance Monday night to protest the Regional School Unit 73 Board of Directors’ decision to ban winter sports. Because the athletes chanted, “Allow us to play,” a procession of 57 autos drove previous blaring horns.
“The college board assembly was final Thursday after which as quickly as that occurred, the winter sports activities groups had been prompt, making an attempt to get one thing going, making an attempt to get something to get a revote,” Owen Bryant, a sophomore basketball participant, mentioned whereas waving an indication that learn, Give us an opportunity.’
Scott Bessey, the varsity boys basketball coach who additionally has two kids within the college system, mentioned that he was shocked on the board’s determination to forgo winter sports activities.
“I believe we had been all a bit caught off-guard. I believe we had been all fairly assured that we had been going to get a ‘sure’ vote with how issues had been trending with different colleges and different votes in different districts,” Bessey mentioned. “The explanations for the ‘no’ vote within the fall didn’t appear relevant right here. The back-to-school stuff that the administration had been all coping with within the fall was fairly overwhelming. You add within the tips for the autumn sports activities and it was rather a lot.”
In September, the board approved competitive golf and cross country whereas all different fall sports activities remained intramural.
Sophomore soccer participant Emma Towers, who was current on the protest to help her friends, mentioned that she was grateful to have had not less than some alternative to play throughout the fall season.
“I used to be lucky sufficient to get the chance and never simply sit dwelling for an entire season,” Towers mentioned. “And it was good as a result of the one optimistic that I took out of it’s, it gave us the chance to play with the boys and never simply women. It undoubtedly expanded our expertise.”
Primarily based on the board’s 7-5 vote at the Dec. 10 meeting, college students won’t have the chance to take part in any winter sport, both interscholastically or intramurally.
“That’s what was so arduous about winter sports activities is as a result of the superintendent was like, ‘Yeah, I’m for it, the MPA (Maine Principals’ Affiliation) tips appear good,’ after which the varsity board — we don’t even know who they’re — and so they all say ‘no’ with none reasoning behind it,” Lorne Grondin, sophomore basketball participant, mentioned whereas holding an indication that learn, ‘Allow us to play!’
At Thursday’s board assembly, Superintendent Scott Albert expressed his confidence within the MPA’s tips, which Bessey mentioned had been understandably extreme.
Throughout the protest, dad and mom had been emphasizing the necessity for one thing, any alternative to play for sake of their kids’s psychological well being.
“We’re at all times involved about our children’ psychological well being the entire time, and that’s why my spin on it has at all times been, ‘Effectively, what can we do?’” father or mother Denelle Gendron mentioned. “Let’s reap the benefits of a brand new alternative. You may’t simply don’t have anything. There needs to be one thing on the desk for them in some type, and I believe they might be proud of something, I actually do.”
RSU 73 group members are at the moment signing a web based petition launched by the cheering workforce for the board to carry an emergency assembly to rethink their determination. The petition has greater than 350 signatures thus far.
“I’m in hopes that now that the general public has spoken up about desirous to be heard, and now that an emergency assembly has been scheduled, hopefully a few of the nos, upon listening to a few of the testimonies from the general public and folks, that they rethink,” Bessey mentioned.
A number of student-athletes who had been beforehand unaware of how college boards operated mentioned that they might be paying extra consideration basically to the board’s choices from right here on out.
“I believe I’ve realized that their choices have extra of an influence on the scholars than I had ever beforehand thought, particularly with sports activities and even budgeting with how a lot that goes into additional curriculars,” Emma Towers mentioned.
Solar Journal sports activities reporter Randy Whitehouse contributed to this report.