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School Board waives 2.0 minimum GPA for sports eligibility

In a 5-2 vote, the School Board waived the 2.0 minimum GPA requirement for student athletes. In a 5-2 vote, the School Board waived the 2.0 minimum GPA requirement for student athletes.

A divided Henderson County School Board on Monday voted to suspend the 2.0 minimum grade requirement for student athletes, meaning students could fall below a C average and retain their eligibility for varsity sports.

Supporters of the waiver request, which had come from high school principals, said teenagers' emotional and mental health problems rising from the pandemic could only get worse if they're denied sports. The waiver, which passed in a 5-2 vote, was supported by the four board members who are current or retired educators.

"I can tell you teachers and coaches are such a big part of these kids' lives," said Dot Case, a retired civics teacher at North Henderson High School. "I just don't think we should jerk that out from under the kids that want to play sports."

Kathy Revis, a retired schoolteacher and administrator, argued for the waiver.

"Who's it going to hurt," she asked, "if we give a waiver for a short period of time?"

"To me I think it hurts the student," said board Chair Blair Craven. "Now you're saying you can have three Ds and an F to play."

"In the big scheme of life we're talking about a waiver for one semester," Reavis responded. Cutting them from their team "could have a life-changing effect on them."

"I want to know how many people this affects, one or two can't play in the basketball game or is it a widespread problem?" Craven said. Administrators did not immediately have that information. "If we waive this policy, you could have under a 1.0 to play sports in Henderson County public schools," Craven added.

Jay Egolf joined Craven in voting no.

"I'm not going to go on the record making it easier for kids," he said. "I want to challenge them. We're going to make them stronger and better when they graduate."

Also voting yes besides Case and Revis were Robert Bridges, Stacey Caskey and Amy Lynn Holt.

Along with th waiver, the School Board directed the administration to draft plans for academic support for students with lower grades that will remain eligible to play sports.