Gaston County Schools not allowing students to play sports if enrolled in district’s virtual academy

Updated: Aug. 17, 2020 at 11:45 PM EDT
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GASTONIA, N.C. (WBTV) - A Gaston County mom says she was surprised to learn her kid is not allowed to play high school sports this season after enrolling in the district’s virtual learning academy.

The mom says sports was supposed to be the only normal thing about her kid’s school year and she believes the rule is not fair.

According to Que Tucker, the Commissioner for North Carolina High School Athletic Association, it is up to each district whether they’ll allow students to play school ball if that student is enrolled in solely virtual learning programs.

Trying to keep family members safe and healthy, who are immunocompromised, is the only reason the Gaston County mom says she signed her teenager up for Gaston County’s Virtual Academy this year.

The mom says she never thought her kid would not be able to play sports with this option. WBTV’s Bria Bell spoke to the mom over the phone under anonymity, for privacy concerns.

“It seemed as if they would be able to participate in the outside activities such as clubs and athletics at their home schools,” the mom said.

She says she only found out her child could not be a part of any athletic team after she called the athletic director about practice.

“He said, I’m sorry but he can’t. He’s not allowed to play,” said the mom.

Discrimination is how she described the situation. She doesn’t think it’s fair for virtual learners to be left out any extracurricular activities just for deciding to learn at home.

“It’s a major disappointment because that was kind of going to be the one connection that we had to the school, which was going to be athletics and it was going to be a regular opportunity to be amongst peers and quite frankly get exercise on a regular basis and be coached,” she said.

A spokesperson for the district sent WBTV a statement that reads:

“Students in the Gaston Virtual Academy do not play sports. None of our schools are involved in sports right now as the high school athletic association has delayed the start of sports until November.”

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