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Parent Claims Student Punished for Stand on Co-Ed Field Hockey
Written by Kelly Kalb Correspondent

        A frustrated John Calder took to the podium at the Sept. 11 school board meeting in Quakertown stating his daughter, Madison, was unfairly punished by district administrators.

        Calder said Madison, a 17-year-old senior at Quakertown Coomunity High School (QCHS), was cut from the field hockey team for "practicing civil disobedience and sending mixed messages to her team."

        Prior to the start of the season, Madison informed the coaching staff that she would not play if all of her teammates could not play, Calder said. This was based on a unanimous school board decision last month to prohibit boys from playing on the field hockey team due to a PIAA (Pennsylvania Interscholastic Athletic Association) policy that would disqualify any team from the playoffs with male members.

        Madison felt it was unfair and essentially was punished for asking for her team to not be split up, Calder explained.

        "At first the boys were allowed to play, then they were not, then they were allowed to practice, then 20 minutes before report time of the first game the boys were allowed to play JV," said Calder when describing his family's confusion. Calder also said his daughter thought she would be able to play varsity but cannot and wants to play JV but cannot because she has been cut from the team unfairly.

        Madison is class president and starting catcher of the softball team for the past three years, her father explained. "As of this meeting Madison still has had no written response as is required in the student-athlete policy handbook," Calder said.

        School board president Paul Stepanoff remarked to Superintendent William Harner, "We need to get a written response to Madison."

        No other comments from school officials were given during the meeting; however, Harner provided the following written statement: "In August, the field hockey season in Quakertown, like many teams across Pennsylvania, got off to a bumpy start with last-minute rule changes in June by the PIAA.

        PIAA's decision created a significant amount of turbulence for our team and the supporting field hockey community. To put the program back on track and move forward, in-depth discussions occurred between coaches, the athletic director, and administration. Decisions were made in the best interest of all the members of the team and the field hockey program. The result has been truly amazing for Quakertown field hockey. The girls have pulled together as a team and have done extremely well against their opponents."

        In other business, Assistant to the Superintendent Dr. Suzanne Laverick-Stone, explained the importance in preparing students for college. The development of a new policy is in the works that will better define what tasks can be completed during extension periods in the middle schools and the PRIDE period in the high school. Administrators are working on providing a menu of resource activities for students to refer to during these extension periods within their school day.

        The resource activities are designed to increase student performance, including remediation, enrichment, small group targeted instruction, research, online resources, test make-up, student study groups, reading/writing, and direct instruction in executive skills, Laverick-Stone explained. Additionally, when teachers are not available to provide support, students will chose an activity to work on via a menu of resources.

        School board member Anna Cattie remarked, "Homework should be easier at home by utilizing resources during PRIDE time."

        While school members agree homework should be completed at home, if all other avenues of resources are used during an extension period or PRIDE then they should be permitted to complete homework.

        "Prohibited is a strong word," Stepanoff said. "Homework is not prohibited, but the students should be doing other things."





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