COLUMBUS (WCMH) – The Columbus Board of Education is holding a special meeting Tuesday at 5:30 p.m. to discuss winter sports and extracurricular activities. The activities have been suspended because of the pandemic and on Tuesday the district announced the suspension was extended until January 23, 2021.
Many players, coaches, and parents want sports to be played before then. On Thursday evening a group of athletes protested the district’s decision outside Columbus City Schools’ (CCS) District offices.
“I’m thinking if we come down here to their main building, they’ll have no choice but to see us. They’ll have no choice but to hear us,” said Daizhon Cox, a Junior Power Forward at South High School. “And that’s what today was, they felt us, they heard us and they heard our concerns and hopefully they can fix them.”
The argue since fall sports were able to be played with certain protocols, winter sports should be too, and they say there has to be a way to make it happen. They also say it’s hard looking at other districts that are playing winter sports.
“We deserve better, that we matter. It’s heartbreaking seeing all of these games being played, all of our peers playing and we’re at home with no reason why,” said Jaylon Jackson, a Senior Point Guard at Centennial High School.
Cox and Jackson both helped organized the protest because they wanted to make sure students’ voices were heard.
“The biggest concern is why can’t we play. Why aren’t we playing? I understand COVID, I understand what comes with it but we’re seeing all these surrounding schools and they’re playing so why can’t we do it,” Cox said.
The protest got the attention of the administration and the school board. Superintendent Dr. Talisa Dixon spoke to the group for a few minutes at the beginning of the protest. She said she understands the frustrations and doesn’t take the decisions lightly.
“What I have been trying to do as the leader is make sure that you are safe and follow the guidance of Columbus Public Health so that you are safe,” said Dr Dixon. “I am in no way or the board trying to prevent you from participating in sports or extracurricular activities.”
While Dr. Dixon did not take questions, a few school board members spent more time talking with the group. Member Dr. Tina Pierce wrote down questions and concerns that were brought up and said she’ll be bringing them to Tuesday’s meeting. A concern raised by coaches was a lack of communication from district leadership.
“I applaud the students for doing this, I see it as a launching pad for us to really think about how we can establish a more permanent, concrete, voice, row, seat, for students when we make decisions and also for our coaches when we make decisions related to sports,” said Dr. Pierce.
Tuesday’s meeting can be watched on CCS’ Facebook page or Youtube channel. At this point no action will be taken at the meeting, according to the district.
Players, parents, and coaches hope a decision can be made at the meeting to resume play because they say too much time has already been wasted. Dr. Pierce said she’s hopeful action could be taken.