Unless something drastic happens with the Oklahoma State Legislature in the next week, April 2 will be an historic day in our state.
Teachers from across Oklahoma are organizing a statewide walkout over poor education funding, including low wages, and with neither side backing down, there has been a lot of talk about what will happen with the extracurricular activities that many students are involved in throughout the state.
Among those extra-curricular activities are spring sports, which are in full-gear across Oklahoma. Baseball, boys and girls soccer, boys and girls tennis, boys and girls golf, boys and girls track and slow-pitch softball are in the middle of their seasons, and many people have asked the question… “What will happen with sports if the teachers walk out on April 2?”
At first, the notion was for an all-out lock-out, meaning that if the teacher walkout occurs April 2 that there would be absolutely no extra-curricular activities while the strike was in effect. However, after several meetings between school and athletic administrators, most schools have said that extra curricular activities, including spring sports will go on as normal. The only change to those schedules will be no games, matches or practices during what would be normal school hours. Therefore, nothing can take place on school property between 8 a.m. and 3 p.m. on a week day.
This is a good decision for school districts across the state that decided to continue extra curricular activities going. Not all school districts will keep extra curricular activities going. The decision rests solely on the school district and not the Oklahoma Secondary Schools Activities Association, which has said they will operate as normal as long as there are school districts that want to continue activities going that fall under the OSSAA’s jurisdiction.
While I believe the teacher walkout will ultimately hurt students. Those who are in extra curricular activities should at the very least have the opportunity to continue their activities outside of the classroom. The fight teachers are taking to the Legislature is about what takes place during school hours in the classroom, not about what happens on an athletic field after school hours.
Schools in Canadian County, including Yukon, Mustang and El Reno are a part of the group of schools that will keep extra curricular activities going throughout the strike. While I hope there can be a resolution to the chaos that is taking place in Oklahoma right now or the walkout/strike will not last for a long period of time, I am glad that those students who get to put on their school colors to compete for the pride of their respective schools will still have that opportunity. I certainly hope these students still get the support they deserve from their communities.
What’s going on across our state is not their fault. Please remember that.