Gateway School District amends eligibility policy
By Kyle Lawson
Published: Wednesday, Sept. 4, 2013, 9:00 p.m.
Gateway School District officials have amended a grade-point average policy that prohibits some high school students from taking part in competitive after-school activities.
The school board voted 9-0 last week to require students to earn at least a “C” average over the previous two semesters, in order to participate in activities. A version of the policy approved last year initially used a student's cumulative GPA, which accounts for the entire high school career. Officials chose to revise it after hearing complaints last month from some parents.
The revised policy will take effect in the 2014-15 school year. Until then, officials are determining student eligibility on either last year's GPA or the student's cumulative GPA, whichever favors the student more, said Gateway spokeswoman Cara Zanella.
As of last week, the revised policy resulted in 13 students losing eligibility for fall activities. Three students who would have been ineligible under the new policy were spared because of the transitional either/or option, Zanella said.
“This is part of the board's overall plan to strengthen academic standards in the district,” school board President Steve O'Donnell said.
The original GPA policy, which the school board adopted in October, was based in part on a concern that student athletes who were academically ineligible at other districts might transfer to Gateway to get a clean slate and start playing sports immediately.
Some people accused former Gateway Athletic Director Terry Smith of recruiting players from other school districts, which violates Western Pennsylvania Interscholastic Athletic League and district rules.
The WPIAL investigated a few Gateway players in 2012, but all were cleared to play. However, one player's transfer was denied by the WPIAL, and the decision was overturned by the Pennsylvania Interscholastic Athletic Association.
Smith supporters accused some school board members of forcing Smith out of Gateway last year by reducing the athletic director position to half-time and prohibiting an athletic director from coaching. School directors who voted for the changes said the decision was not personal, but was an attempt to improve academics by reducing the athletic budget.
Kyle Lawson is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. He can be reached at 412-856-7400, ext. 8755, or firstname.lastname@example.org.
Show commenting policy
TribLive commenting policy
You are solely responsible for your comments and by using TribLive.com you agree to our Terms of Service.
We moderate comments. Our goal is to provide substantive commentary for a general readership. By screening submissions, we provide a space where readers can share intelligent and informed commentary that enhances the quality of our news and information.
While most comments will be posted if they are on-topic and not abusive, moderating decisions are subjective. We will make them as carefully and consistently as we can. Because of the volume of reader comments, we cannot review individual moderation decisions with readers.
We value thoughtful comments representing a range of views that make their point quickly and politely. We make an effort to protect discussions from repeated comments either by the same reader or different readers.
We follow the same standards for taste as the daily newspaper. A few things we won't tolerate: personal attacks, obscenity, vulgarity, profanity (including expletives and letters followed by dashes), commercial promotion, impersonations, incoherence, proselytizing and SHOUTING. Don't include URLs to Web sites.
We do not edit comments. They are either approved or deleted. We reserve the right to edit a comment that is quoted or excerpted in an article. In this case, we may fix spelling and punctuation.
We welcome strong opinions and criticism of our work, but we don't want comments to become bogged down with discussions of our policies and we will moderate accordingly.
We appreciate it when readers and people quoted in articles or blog posts point out errors of fact or emphasis and will investigate all assertions. But these suggestions should be sent via e-mail. To avoid distracting other readers, we won't publish comments that suggest a correction. Instead, corrections will be made in a blog post or in an article.
Subscribe today! Click here for our subscription offers.