A new student athlete controversy was brought up to the Delano Joint Union High School District board meeting on July 30.
The issue lies within a new rule that forces athletes who transfer schools within the district to sit out from all sports for an entire academic year. The rule is affecting students from each grade level at all three Delano high schools, but seems targeted at incoming freshmen students.
In fact, the problem was so widespread a group of 10 student athletes decided to speak in front of the school board at its July 30 meeting.
The group of all female incoming freshman students from various high schools being affected by the new rule are transfers and had received one-year athletic bans.
Each presented two-minute speeches in front of each of the board members. The speeches ranged in a variety of points, spanning CIF regulations to the inconsistency of enforcement.
However, as each speaker cited different reasons to abolish the ban, each speech advocated for the same topic, a term known as “equal play.” If the district were to allow the implementation of this idea, athletes could transfer to different schools and receive no penalty in doing so.
This idea might seem radical at first glance, bringing ideas of rampant transferring each year based off of students' desires. Yet, in a point brought up by Sharae Brown, an incoming freshmen at Robert F. Kennedy, many athletes have already faced no consequence for transferring under the previous rules. In fact, Brown stated, “The rules are inconsistent and enforced differently across schools and their teams. Some coaches choose to make their players sit out, while other ones play their kids with no penalty at all.”
This issue of the inconsistency of enforcement could be avoided if the rules were much more lax. DJUHSD has some of the area's strictest transfer rules now that Kern High School District has abolished its previous transfer rules. Speaker Noelani Espiritu utilized this point in her appeal to the board, as she said, “If you look at the Kern High School rules on transferring, they are no longer forcing transfer students to sit out.” Espiritu also brought up that CIF transfer policies have become increasingly lax in the previous years, yet DJUHSD rules have not.
As each speaker expressed their issues with the rules, the one most relatable came from incoming Cesar Chavez High School student Emily Gorospe.
She stated that she lives much closer to Cesar Chavez High than any other Delano school. Yet, she had to receive a transfer to attend. This particular case calls the boundary system the district has setup into question. It is set up so students attend high schools closest to them, but students living a few blocks away from one school are forced to attend schools much farther away.
One thing is for certain: the much-scrutinized rule will have quite the effect on these students entering high school in Delano. A possible solution could be discussed in a few weeks at the district's August school board meeting.