To many county residents the January 5th meeting of the Frederick County School Board now appears as no more than an apparition to an already predetermined outcome. Community members pleaded for the students to be allowed to return to sports. Only one community member was allowed to attend the meeting in person, but several comments were sent in and read to the board. It was noted by one of the school board members that although the people they represent were in favor of returning to sports, they themselves voted against the return for personal reasons. Elected members and officials are put into office to represent and speak for those they represent, not to tell them that their word is of no importance.
Although it was a tight vote amongst board members, to many residents, they saw members who already had already made up their minds before they entered the room. The other remaining area school systems that had postponed sports made the decision to allow their students to participate in VHSL-sanctioned events. On January 5th Fauquier County made the decision to move forward, and on January 7th Winchester City made the same decision. Every school in our northwestern district and region will allow their athletes the opportunity to participate in VHSL-sanctioned events except for Frederick County.
As residents of both Frederick County and Winchester watched the school board meetings, they saw how differently the two conducted themselves. The board members for Winchester City were presented with multiple options, Frederick County was given one. The board members of Winchester City had a constructive group discussion and ultimately presented a new option to meet the needs of both students and athletes. Frederick County only talked about what was put in front of them. The board members of Winchester City communicated with both the school athletic director and a committee member while the superintendent listened and provided feedback. Frederick County communicated primarily with the superintendent and only one of three athletic directors.
It appears that Frederick County as a whole was not properly represented. Why was every school principal and athletic director not in attendance or asked their views? Was it because they were against the proposition? Were coaches and student voices heard or even asked for when making the decision? Was factual youth sports data ever really examined or discussed? Where is the evidence for the statements made? Apparently some of the statements made by those who are supposed to represent Frederick County did not hold any truth.
From what has been seen and said, it appears that things happened behind closed doors.
Chris Joy is a resident of Frederick County.