Beginning this Fall, high school and middle school students in Coventry, Connecticut who fail one class will not be eligible for after-school activities or school sports. Middle school students also must be good citizens.This strict policy highlights the government’s control over students in the public school system. Not only can the government handicap their academic future by providing an insufficient education, it also can rob them of the chance to play sports.
For those students who do fail a class, most do not have an alternative athletic league in their towns. It is practically impossible for a private citizen to start an alternative league because the government’s league is free. Therefore, a poor student, who previously could use athletic achievements to get into a college, can quickly become an academic failure who also doesn’t play sports.
The school board, which passed the strict policy, probably thinks that it will be an incentive for people to maintain a higher GPA. Unfortunately, it will also dramatically harm those students who can benefit from the discipline and camaraderie of sports teams. The policy bans poor students for only one semester, but these students may never return to the playing field.
The middle school students suffer even more persecution because they must be good “citizens.” That additional criteria probably allows the school board to examine the private lives of students. Conceivably, the board, like one in Texas, may deny sports eligilibity to students who are caught smoking or drinking. It is ironic that a “bad government” would demand that students be “good citizens.”
In a Libertarian society, all schools would be privately owned and if a school denied activities to a poor student, that student could simply stroll down the street to another school. That school may not be as good at the first school, but at least the student would have a choice. For poor and middle class students in Coventry, Conn. who cannot afford private school, they must endure the government’s assault on their lives.