The Wareham, Mass., School District approved a proposal earlier this week to change the high school policy addendum to include stricter academic standards for athletes. Student-athletes must now pass at least seven major subjects per quarter to remain eligible for varsity sports.
The change comes at the request of the school’s principal, Scott Palladino, speaking on behalf of the physical education teachers. “The physical education instructors … feel there are other lessons to be learned in physical education, and it’s not about conditioning,” he said.
Palladino worked with parents, coaches and students to develop and agree on the new guidelines. The collaboration resulted in a condition that grants students who pass only courses in two quarters are granted one opportunity to appeal their ineligibility.
“Kids are … resilient, and when you say, ‘This is what you need to do, most of them will meet that,” Palladino said. “It’s a one-year policy, so we’ll see how it goes. If it has a drastic impact on the athletic program, we will be back at the School Committee.”
While some members of the committee felt that the change was in the best interest of atheltes’ health and wellbeing, others felt that the stricter requirements will hurt the school district. “It might give folks another reason for leaving Wareham,” Committee member Cliff Sylvia’s said. “I really believe that.”