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NYC Protesters: Students Of Color Are Denied School Sports

By: Krystle Crossman

Protesters and students have been gathering tirelessly on the steps of the Department of Education offices in New York City to try and protest the budget cuts on small school sports. Recently International Community High School in the Bronx lost all of its sports teams because of funding. Protesters are calling foul because they state that affluent schools have no issues with sports because more money is given to those schools than the small schools. The smaller schools with the low-income families and minorities continue to have parts of their education taken from them because of budget cuts.

School sports are a great way to keep kids active, keep them involved with their peers, and keep them off of the streets. Students who play sports also do better with their education as they are learning focus and discipline through the sport. When these programs are taken away from students it is a big blow not only to their physical well-being but their education as well. The protesters said that they will be on the steps of the Department of Education at 5 p.m. every single day until their concerns are heard and addressed. They are demanding that every small high school have six different sports teams that students can choose from. So far they have not heard anything from officials.

The New York Times stated that the funding for sports must meet certain requirements that are set out by the Public Schools Athletic League. One of the requirements is that they have a coach available for each team. They also must have enough students with a certain grade point average that can play sports. Often times in the lower income schools students do not academically qualify for sports teams and so the budgets are allocated somewhere else.

The dean of International High, David Garcia-Rosen, had seen the funding for sports continue to decline and so he decided to do something about it himself. He founded the Small School Athletic League. It grew to over 100 teams in a short amount of time. The teams were funded through the school budgets without the constraints of the requirements from the Public Schools Athletic League. Last year during protests that were led by Garcia-Rosen and his students over school sports the Department of Education gave them $825,000 for the teams in the Small School Athletic League. Garcia-Rosen stated that it was just a “band-aid on a gaping wound.” He stated that some of the funding was mishandled and so now they are back where they started.

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