PRC School Board discusses senior early dismissal with athletes

Published 7:00 am Tuesday, August 8, 2017

The topic of discussion at Monday’s Pearl River County School Board meeting was changes made to the athletic handbook for the upcoming school year.
Many minor changes and adjustments were made to several rules in the handbook. However, one stood out, dealing with an athlete’s eligibility to leave school early as part of the senior early dismissal policy and come back to school for practice, causing liability issues.
The first of two parts of the rule in the handbook states, “Student athletes who participate in a sport/activity that meets during 4th period shall not be eligible for early dismissal during that sport/activity season.”
The second part reads, “For any sport/activity that does not meet during 4th period, the coach/sponsor of that sport/activity shall make the decision as to whether those students are eligible for early dismissal during that sport/activity season.”
Concerned parents attended Monday’s meeting to share their opinion on the new policy that their children will not be able to be dismissed early, specifically those of cheerleaders.
“In my daughter’s case, it is affecting her to the point where she would have to quit her job. She’s going to college in several months and is saving money to do so,” Richard Burge said, who has a daughter on the cheerleading team.
To PRC Athletic Director Larry Dolan, the change was made out of a concern of liability and safety for students.
The Board felt that the more trips students have to make to school, the more at risk they are of being involved in a car accident.
“I would not want my daughter, who played basketball and was a valedictorian, to have early dismissal during her season. She got early release after her basketball season, which I am all for,” Dolan said. “
However, after deliberation, the Board decided to delete the restriction against early release from the handbook and approve it as amended.
The topic of early dismissal for senior athletes will be reintroduced when the Board considers the following school year’s athletic handbook.
More on Monday’s Board meeting will be featured in Wednesday’s edition of the Item.

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