Karla’s Korner: Which Comes First…High School Athletics or Academics?

I am proud to introduce a new column to Madame Deals! I think we all need a touch point a place we can go to be inspired. Karla is my children’s teacher, a good friend, and a person with a heart of gold. I hope that her words will inspire you to do more. We are only as good as the people we surround ourselves with. It is important to listen with your heart and proceed with your eyes open. Enjoy!

Which Comes First…High School Athletics or Academics?

My phone rang one evening last week with an important message from the public school system. Apparently the boy’s basketball team was going to be playing a very important game on Friday evening and if they won they would advance to the state semi-final game the following Tuesday and if they advanced the ENTIRE school system would be closed on Tuesday so that everyone could go to the game. At first I was not sure what I had heard but after reading the confirming email that had been sent I verified that yes, I had heard the message correctly and yes, school would be closed if the team won on Friday night. Personally, I do not care if schools are closed because my son is 13 and can stay home alone; however, it was not very long before Facebook began to “light up” with parents wondering what to do with their young children in the middle of the week because schools might be closed. Plans had to be made for childcare just in case which left many feeling a bit put out by the whole situation; not to mention that in most cases, extra childcare would cost for most parents which will put a strain on their already tight budgets.

As Friday evening approached, many students were super excited about the possibility of not having school on Tuesday (and Friday because of a scheduled teacher workday). On Saturday morning my phone rang and once again it was an important message from the school system. The boy’s basketball team had won and would be advancing to the semi-finals and school would be closed on Tuesday. Once again, it really does not affect me because I have older children; however, this decision has created quite a firestorm of activity with folks looking for childcare. The school system has 100 spots available for extended education childcare for the day at $20 a person; however there are way more than 100 students needing a place to go that day.

So here’s my question: Just how far should we (society) go for high school athletics? Is the school system putting athletics over academics? My personal opinion is that because this is such a rare occurrence the school system has decided that yes it is important to give everyone the opportunity to go to the game. However what is everyone else who does not wish to go or cannot go to the game supposed to do? Should the school system allow students to have an excused absence if they choose to go to the game and keep schools open? Could they have provided bus transportation for the older students who want to go to the game? Could they have closed school for the upper grades and let the younger ones stay in school? I don’t have the answers and am thankful that I am not in the position to make those decisions. I do know that at my house, my husband and I will get up and go to work like any other workday and my son, will enjoy sleeping in, laying around in his pajama pants and sweatshirt all day, play a few games of whatever it is he plays on Playstation, eat some sort of microwaveable concoction for breakfast and lunch and welcome us back home in the early evening just like always.

You decide….athletics before academics?


Check out all of Karla’s Korner articles here.

Also, please visit Karla’s Lifetime Moms page and read her articles.

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  1. Karla Robey says

    me too! And though this is a very rare opportunity for our high school basketball team, the decision to close school entirely has created a burden on some families…..On a side note, our schools were closed today due to a fluke snow storm…we were supposed to get less than half an inch and got 6 inches…now our students will have two days off in a row and another day on Friday for a teacher workday. Academics is taking a backseat this week for sure.

  2. ginette4 says

    What? Close the whole school because they won a basketball game, wow! No academics goes first!! Always! To close the school because a basketball game, can they really do that? Wow that would not have happened at my child’s school without them hearing from me. I’m speechless..

  3. Amanda Green says

    I’d say it’s common sense to have academics come first. If you can’t pass your subjects you won’t be able to play sports anyway! lol

  4. Summer says

    Are they going to close school when the robotics, or debate team go to state? I understand it is important to the school and players but academics first. Have the kids bring their ticket stub for an excused absence.

  5. Shelia Lilly says

    Can’t believe they closed the entire school system for a basketball game. In that situation here in Rockingham County (at least at Spotswood HS) school is in session but kids are given an excused absence to attend the game if they so wish. They have to present their ticket in order to get the excused absence, it’s not just a free for all day for anyone who wants a day off. I believe the middle and elementary schools that feed into SHS have the same policy. Closing school completely is crazy in my book!

    • Natalie B says

      That sounds like a reasonable compromise. They could bring in substitute teachers to help staff the school too.

  6. Karla Robey says

    presenting their tickets is a great idea! The “talk” has been that since we have not had any snow days…up untl today…and our system “banks” 5 days per school year they need to give back at least 3 of those days. So with the closing for the game, they give back one of those days and today was an official snow day so that leaves one day remaining…however, there are a lot of elementary and middle school parents left shaking their heads and wondering what to do….

  7. Victoria Russell says

    Thank you for this post! This is something I battled with my parents about (and more so mu brothers) and I know will come up with my little ones!

  8. Deanne says

    This has been here locally where I live also. And I believe the reason here is because if there is too many students absent they will lose funding from the state, thus being unable to just give it as an excused absence to those who go. Plus here we have many teachers who are also parents of the student athletes!
    But I must say that where I live, to much attention is given to sports and not enough to academics! They even have a conditioning class for the atheles and it is highly recommended that you take it. If a student doesn’t, they might not be able to play as much!

  9. jara Christensen says

    I would say academics! I went to a school growing up that was extremely into sports. I had really bad asthma so I couldnt participate, and I thought it was so unfair that the kids who were into sports got to just slide by in school.

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