Archive for Wednesday, December 19, 2001


December 19, 2001

Whose sports program is it?

To the editor:

At meetings this summer, the school board very clearly stated their guidelines for sports participation at THS. A cut policy was lobbied for, but rejected by the board. All students were to be encouraged to participate if they chose. Not all coaches of sports programs have followed those guidelines. The most recent evidence is four seniors who were forced out of boys' basketball only because they were seniors. Every parent of any student-athlete should be concerned about how our young people are treated by those who are responsible to lead the programs. The hurt and pain caused to student-athletes this year could be directed at your child next.

I strongly encourage the parents of all student-athletes to quickly and publicly question any policies that are a concern. Policies should be judged on the basis of fairness to every athlete and by how accurately the policy represents the desires of the community. When there is a concern, make it known immediately. Go to the coach and then go to the administration. Don't be afraid to make waves. Decisions must be challenged before they do harm. This must be done quickly, because once an action has been taken, it is unlikely any corrective action will be taken to undo what has been done.

If we want to encourage the kids to "come out and play" then they should be given the opportunity to compete for playing time. We were not asking that these four seniors be given playing time, only the opportunity to compete for playing time. What message is sent to younger players when they see seniors told in no uncertain terms that no matter how hard they work or how well they do in practice they will never get into a game? Will younger student-athletes be told the same thing next year? It is up to coaches, administrators and parents of student-athletes to work together for all student-athletes so our sports programs will become areas of encouragement and opportunity. The real question is this: whose sports program is it?

Mike Vernon,


Clarification of statement

To the editor:

I want to take the opportunity to clear up a statement attributed to me in last week's paper. At our recent school board meeting, I was speaking to some parents whose sons had been cut from the varsity basketball team. I said, "I hurt for you guys and your kids." Then I said something to the effect that as parents, we want our kids to gain confidence in high school, not lose confidence. I then said that I have had two boys go through it. The "it" I referred to was high school, not basketball. Neither of my sons played basketball. Then, regarding the seniors who were cut from the basketball team, I said, "They have lost face at school."

One more clarification: The "new understanding of the no-cut policy" which was reported in the paper is only a recommendation. As was reported, the board will consider and adopt a policy sometime next spring.

I realize that it is difficult to record everything perfectly at public meetings, but I did want to clear up the quote.

I wasn't quoted incorrectly, just not completely. Thanks for the good work The Mirror does in the weekly paper. I appreciate your efforts.

Rick Lamb,

School board member


Daily challenges in schools

To the editor:

After reviewing the articles published since June 13, 2001, in The Mirror encompassing the "athletic cut policy" at THS, I commend the open dialogue that transpired between the community and the school board. While it is perplexing that an archaic KVL ruling has not been amended or abolished, this inopportune incident can serve as a precursor for impending challenges, which are certain to affect the Tonganoxie school district. Change is imminent.

Collaborate with the board of education to plan for the future, as it is an arduous task. Assist in fostering an inclusive district culture whereby all children belong to all of us. Currently, Tonganoxie school district is a microcosm compared to nearby districts. However, the challenges and deterioration are progressive especially without intervention.

Based on my extensive involvement with the KCK school district through faith-based initiatives, at a grassroots level and directly with the district administration, I am sharing an abbreviated list of some substantial daily challenges:

Closing the achievement gap the 1999/2000 graduation rate was 52.2 percent.

Of the 21,000 students 1,000 have been identified as being homeless.

And on a large-scale:

Nationwide about 40 million adults have reading skills so low, even basic tasks are difficult, and research indicates that a child's success in school is linked to his parents' education level so the next generation is also at risk.

The above-referenced issues could have been diverted with proactive planning and early intercession.

April Dohle,


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