Rob Shimshock, DCNF
Baltimore schools delayed implementing a grade policy in August that would have prevented six schools from fielding any sports teams.
Baltimore City Public Schools’ (BCPS) policy would have restricted student-athletes who had not achieved at least a 2.0 (“C”) GPA in summer school or the last quarter of the preceding academic year from competing in fall sports like football, reported The Baltimore Sun. The old rule only mandated that students not have failed more than one class per quarter.
“We’re making sure we’re being fair to students who are affected by this and may not have fully understood what was at play before,” BCPS executive director of whole child services and support Sarah Warren told The Sun.
“There’s been situations that have come across my desk where a student may have been living with their grandmother, and their grandmother passes,” BCPS chief academic officer Sean Conley said. “This student may have been an A or B student, but then the grades just plummeted. We want to make sure we’re looking at the student as more of a totality than at just that one moment.”
Over 50 percent of the district’s students live in poverty, many are homeless, and many have to deal with the city’s high crime rate.
“Our kids face so much adversity outside of school,” Benjamin Franklin High School athletic director Richard Jackson told The Baltimore Sun. “I’d hate to have to throw even more adversity when they get to school.”
BCPS did not respond immediately to a request for comment regarding whether miscommunication on the district’s part concerning the new policy prevented students from being ready to meet the 2.0 GPA standard or why BCPS student athletes could not meet that standard when their peers from neighboring districts have had to meet it for years.
The Sun speculated that the delayed implementation and revision would permit 225 more students to take part in BCPS athletics. But student athletes will need to meet the 2.0 GPA cutoff by Nov. 9, the end of the district’s first quarter, to compete in winter sports.
Students who wish to compete in college NCAA sports need to maintain a minimum GPA of 2.3.
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