Bad grades cut many from sports, clubs 24% are ineligible under new rule

November 26, 1992|By Monica Norton | Monica Norton,Staff Writer

Jack Jordan, the assistant basketball coach at South River High School couldn't believe how many boys tried out for his team this month. And he couldn't believe how many were ineligible because of their grades.

"Fifteen," he said after getting the news last week. "I just couldn't believe there were so many."

More than 4,200 of the school system's 17,900 students, or 24 percent, are ineligible to participate in extracurricular activities because they have less than a C average, school officials said yesterday.

Report cards, originally scheduled to be distributed in the third week of November, were delayed until Tuesday while school officials tried to figure out how many students would be affected by the new requirement that they carry at least a 2.0, or "C," average to participate in extracurricular activities.

Last year, they only had to have a 1.6 grade-point average, and that threshold applied only to sports.

"There is a caution, however," said Jane Doyle, spokeswoman for the school system. "There is no point of comparison. We don't know how many students would have been affected under the 1.6" if it were still in effect this year.

Mrs. Doyle added that another snag that will make comparisons with last year's figures difficult is that it is possible for a student to fail two classes while still maintaining the required 2.0 GPA. Or, a student also could have an incomplete grade in one subject, further complicating the works.

The school board voted last month to raise the minimum required grade-point average for students participating in extracurricular activities from 1.6 to 2.0 beginning with the fall season.

The board also voted to allow a student to carry one failing grade in each marking period and still participate in an extracurricular activity.

But those students would be barred from playing in games or participating in other events during a 15-day probationary period. Students playing sports would be restricted to attending team meetings and practices during that time.

The students also are required to participate in a tutoring program that has been approved by the school principal and reviewed by the Board of Education's central office staff.

The minimum-grade requirement for sports brought objections from black parents and community leaders because it threatened to make nearly two-thirds of the county's black male high school students ineligible.

Figures released by the school system yesterday showed:

* 43 percent, or 566 of 1,310 black male students are ineligible to participate; 28 percent, or 2,115 of 7,492 white male students are ineligible.

* 29 percent, or 378 of 1,325 black female students are ineligible to participate; 15 percent, or 1,114 of 7,222 white female students are ineligible.

School board vice-president Dorothy Chaney said the statistics showed the school system still has "a lot of work to do."

"When we placed students in classes, we're supposed to be placing them in classes that are most appropriate for them, where they can achieve," Mrs. Chaney said. "Hypothetically, all our students should be making a 2.0, because under our philosophy anything under a 2.0 is 'at-risk.' "

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