Let Them Play

The BOE members of Wichita public schools made a heartbreaking announcement to cancel all fall sports activities in August. This decision came with great sadness and anger for many student athletes as well as parents from schools all over Wichita including usd 259 surrounding schools such as Maize, Andover ,Maize South etc. Only a few days later many people were forming plans to protest the decision to get their sports back that they had been working for all summer long and days after the BOE reversed their decision and brought fall sports back, here’s what motivated them to change their minds.

Some students were feeling more confused and angered than others about the decision cancelling fall sports. Many felt the decision was unfair and did not make sense because every other district in Kansas was following through with fall sports to give their student athletes a chance. Kylee Robertson, a Junior on the varsity cheerleading team felt very bothered by the original decision made.

“What bothered me the most about this decision was that every school district around Wichita public schools was going through with fall sports and we were one of the few that got it taken away without even being given a chance to prove that we will follow all safety precautions which we had been doing all summer during conditioning,” said Robertson.

When the BOE made this decision they had no idea what was about to happen. They received backlash from all social media platforms including, coaches, parents, students from Wichita public schools and schools from all over and many more people who just wanted the student athletes to be given a chance at a season. Less than a week after their decision, students in sports and band and students who just wanted to see their friends have the season they worked for, were getting together to form protests. There were protests held at Northwest and at North in hopes of changing the BOE members.

Camden Aldrich, a senior football player attended the protests after mourning the fact that he may no longer be having a senior football season.

“I don’t think that the BOE took into consideration what this decision did to the seniors. It took away scholarship opportunities and it took away some people’s last time to ever be on the field. Many of the people out there have been playing [football] since they were younger and this was their last year and they just took it away from them without giving them a chance,” said Aldrich before hearing that sports were back.

Days after the decision that ended fall sports the BOE held a meeting that reversed their decision. The BOE made the choice to allow fall sports with precautions. These precautions consisted of no visitors being allowed to attend games, all students participating in high risk sports must attend school through my school remote, players must wear their masks on the sidelines and this decision included a few more smaller precautions.

“This decision made us all feel accomplished and it made us feel like our voices were finally heard by the BOE members and they for once took our opinions into consideration,” Aldrich said after hearing the decision that sports were back on.

After hard work forming protests and emailing board members, student athletes and their fans felt like their hard work had paid off. Many felt accomplished and felt that their voices were heard for once. What could potentially happen in the future with sports and COVID may be undetermined but these students will play their sports and cheer on their fellow student athlete friends until a potential change in the future.