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Due to oversight, Decatur High students barred from state swim meet

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Due to oversight, Decatur High students barred from state swim meet

The front steps of Decatur High School. Photo by Dan Whisenhunt
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The front steps of Decatur High School. Photo by Dan Whisenhunt

A large group of Decatur High students will be unable to compete in the state swim meets due to what appears to be an administrative error by the school’s athletic staff.

A parent who informed Decaturish about the dilemma said that a large number of students won’t be able to compete due to a failure to submit proof of times. City Schools of Decatur Officials are working to confirm the exact number, but provided two letters showing Superintendent David Dude making a passionate, last-minute appeal to allow the students to compete.

Dude wrote to the Georgia High School Association on Jan. 31 and Feb.2 to discuss his concerns.

“We expect our student-athletes to be accountable to the rules, and it is appropriate to expectthe same of those who coach them,”Dude wrote to GSHA on Jan. 31. “Unfortunately, as I shared when we spoke, I cannot agree with punishing students for the failure of adults. The students have no control over the timely submission of these data. Consequently, I will be taking appropriate employment action to address the adult behaviors that allowed this problem to occur. As I also shared, I hope GHSA will consider alternatives such as levying a personal fine against the offending coach, prohibiting the individual from coaching a GHSA-sanctioned sport for a given time period, or some other appropriate punishment focused on the adult(s) rather than the kids. I appreciate that the GHSA Executive Committee will likely be discussing such a change in the near future.”

On Feb. 2, Dude wrote back again, insisting that GHSA has some flexibility in these matters.

“When I contacted you on Tuesday, January 31, I was truly hopeful that a rational outcome was imminent,” he wrote. “The fact that our students continue to be punished for the actions of adults is incredibly frustrating, aggravating, and disappointing.”

This isn’t CSD’s first dispute with GHSA. In May of last year, the state soccer championship game was scheduled the same day as International Baccalaureate finals. Three of the five team members chose not to take the test so they could play in the championship game. Dude wasn’t happy about that situation either.

“What is most frustrating about this situation is that it was entirely avoidable,” Dude wrote in a letter to GHSA regarding the soccer championship’s conflict with IB finals.

Here are the letters Dude sent regarding the swim meet:

Letter 2 to GHSA re Swimming State Qualifying Letter to GHSA re Swimming State Qualifying

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