School board tables athletics policy update
The Polk County Board of Education will be waiting until April to approve policy updates on how student athletics are governed within the system, from residency requirements to what’s allowed on the Middle School level.
School board members unanimously approved to table the policy update brought up from the committee level during their March 4 work session which will govern how the school district handles student transfers and their eligibility to play, but also provides local control over middle school athletics.
The changes reported by board member J.P. Foster looked to ensure that when a student comes into the system to Cedartown or Rockmart High School — or at the middle school level as well — they do with a clear record and meeting all the requirements they are supposed to.
“No one should be caught unaware,” Foster said. “We’ve all heard before of a player who was a jam-up player, but after the season maybe a team had to forfeit a game, or maybe their entire season because of issues. We don’t want things like that to happen on our watch.”
New language replaces old within the policy, and provides that all students who participate in athletic competition have to be a full-time student at the school where they wish to compete during the semester of competition, which means they have to live within the district full-time and attend school without any absentee issues, keep up their grades, go through physicals and more.
It also prohibits the “retention of students for athletic purposes” and forces principals to be required to ensure that either themselves, or someone they designate, is responsible for ensuring those eligibility requirements are being met.
On the middle school level, the policy changes also were updated to ensure that local control remains over student athletics on the sixth through eighth grade levels.
They have to follow the same requirements for eligibility as high school athletes in residency and the need for a physical examination.
However the superintendent or a designee can determine requirements for governing competitive athletics on the middle school level in the policy change, and those are being outlined in the PSD’s Athletic Handbook, which are given out to players and parents ahead of the start of a sport’s season.
School board members will come back to either make changes or approve the policy update during their April combined session following spring break.