An online petition on Change.org to revise the eligibility rules within the Alabama High School Athletic Association has gathered some 221 signatures as of press time, though that is figure is 279 short of drive’s the 500-signature goal.
The petition’s author, Mountain Brook-area mother Kimberly Fasking, is seeking changes to the state’s high school eligibility rules on behalf of her son Everett, an eighth grader at Alabama School of Fine Arts.
Since the school does not participate in sport events under the state’s public schools sports association, attending the prestigious school meant no longer participating in track & field, a rule Fasking seeks to change via the petition.
“According to current AHSAA rules, children may participate in athletics at the school for which they are zoned if they are either enrolled in that public school or in a magnet school which does not offer athletics,” writes Fasking. describing her son’s quandary.
“Because ASFA is a public school, not technically a magnet school, although it functions almost entirely as one and fits by nearly every definition, students there are left without access to school athletics. If it were a magnet, the students would be allowed to participate in athletics at the public schools for which they are zoned. There is currently no AHSAA rule to address this specific case, so neither they nor the school system can/will allow him to join his old team.”
The petition has been posted for some six months. Over the summer the AHSAA agreed to allow homeschooled children to participate in high school sports via local district schools.
While this is “fantastic news for so many children in Alabama,” “there has been no such pressure or agreement for children like my son who attend public schools which do not offer athletics,” said the petitioner.
“Please help Alabama join the 28 states that already have similar rules and don’t allow the continued discrimination against the children who, because of special talents or other circumstances, are not best suited to a traditional school learning environment. These kids deserve inclusion in their communities’ athletic programs,” Fasking writes.