The Wake County school system may loosen up the guidelines allowing student athletes to transfer to other high schools.
During today's school board policy committee meeting, committee chairwoman Debra Goldman raised concerns about the section in the board's transfer policy that says transfer students may not be allowed to participate in high school athletics. If you get a transfer, you could potentially be barred from playing athletics for 365 days.
That section of policy is meant to prevent high schools from competing with each other for athletes. There have been scandals at schools in other districts over the issue.
This section of policy typically comes up when high school students are reassigned and request transfers to stay at their current school. Typically the student is allowed to still play at his/her old school as long as the principals of the new and old schools and Bobby Guthrie, senior administrator for athletics, sign off.
The R&P for the policy says that "a student requesting an appeal shall be required to demonstrate clear and convincing evidence, in writing, that athletics has played no part in requesting a transfer."
But as a practical matter, Guthrie told board members today he's only rejected three or four requests for transfer students to play athletics in the past eight years. He said he did it in cases where the students incriminated" themselves by telling others they were transferring because of athletics.
Goldman argued that the current policy and R&P are forcing students to lie that they're not requesting the transfer for athletics.
Goldman also said the policy doesn't give latitude for students who want to transfer because their assigned school doesn't have the sport they want to play on. For instance, she said some high schools don't offer lacrosse.
The end result of today's discussion is that the committee agreed to, for now, recommend a minor change in the wording. They recommended that the headline of 6203.8 be amended to say "transfer students may not be allowed to participate in high school athletics without an appeal."
The wording change is supposed to make it more clear to parents they can appeal to have their kids play athletics after getting a transfer.
On the wider issue of giving students more leeway to request transfers for athletic reasons such as a sport not being offered, staff was asked to look into the issue more and report back to the full board.