Delano students fight to rid of school policy temporarily prohibiting participation in athletics

August 9, 2019 /

A group of Delano students expressed dissatisfaction at a school board meeting with with a policy that prohibits students from participating in sports for a year when transferring schools.

At the Delano Joint Union High School District board meeting on July 30, students from Equal Play, an organization advocating to rid of the one-year sit out policy, spoke on in inconsistencies with the policy and how it is implemented.

“Students do not support the one-year sit out rule,” said Equal Play member Sharae Brown, who is affected by the policy. “One of the many reasons as to why we don’t support this rule is because it’s inconsistent.”

Brown said many students lie about their address to be able to partake in sports.

The one-year sit out policy was implemented to deter recruiting in athletics within the school district. Officials say coaches are no longer recruiting.

The Kern High School District had a similar policy in place but rid of it earlier this year. Now, incoming freshmen that have been granted an open enrollment immediately eligible to participate in athletics.

“The inconsistency is a lack of enforcement which makes us question the important of this rule,” Brown said. “Is the rule even necessary, if not all schools, teams or coaches are enforcing it the same way?”

Brown also noted the benefits of extra curricular activities.

“Extra curricular (activities) ignite passions and make for unforgettable lifelong memories on the district’s website at least make this opportunity available to all students,” Brown said.

Emily Gorospe, another member of Equal Play, told her story. She transferred to Cesar Chavez High for safety reasons and because it is closer to her home.

For now, she is practicing with her team, but she is not allowed to compete until her one-year term is over.

“For me, playing in the game and the adrenaline from the crowd is a whole other feeling in the atmosphere because of the one-year sit out,” she said. “I don’t get to experience that, and it’s having a huge impact on me and my potential team.”

Gorospe called to rid of the policy.

“Let’s make it right for future students,” Gorospe said. “Let’s make it right for those boys and girls who need to feel part of a team instead of a gang. Let’s make it right for young people who need an outlet for their mental health. Let’s make it right for students who need extra motivation for good grades. We can make it right.”

The school board will vote on the policy at the next board meeting at 5 p.m. on Aug. 20 a the Delano High School library.

Marco Rodriguez

Marco Rodriguez is a youth reporter from Delano for South Kern Sol.