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Rochester school board pushes for more equity in student sports

Realistic illustration football or soccer field on chalkboard
Adobe Stock
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Adobe Stock
The Rochester City School District is grappling with how to ensure equity in access to sports for students.

The Rochester City School District is grappling with how to ensure equity in access to sports for students.

School Board Vice President Beatriz LeBron said among the challenges this year, student-athletes are having issues with transportation to games and practices. She said it’s affecting their well-being.

“For some teams, they're waiting for a very long, extended period of time to be picked up,” LeBron said. “And while they're waiting to be picked up, there's no access to a snack or food.”

Interim Superintendent Carmine Peluso said the transportation department is working to coordinate more reliable rides.

He also said if more schools had enough students to play on their own teams, fewer students would need to travel to play on a united team.

“One of our obstacles … that we're faced with that some of our suburban counterparts are not faced with (is that) they practice at their school at their facility,” Peluso said. “They don't need transportation, when we're ... transporting 450 athletes all across the city.”

LeBron said recruiting more student athletes would need to involve a thoughtful and systemic approach to ensure diversity, equity and inclusion. That’s particularly true in the case of the girls united swim team, according to board President Cynthia Elliott, who said it’s been predominantly white for too long.

Board member Amy Maloy said another aspect of inequity raised by coaches and parents is that some girls’ sports teams have been getting less field time than boys’ teams.

Maloy asked that district leaders look into that more closely and resolve any discrepancies.

Noelle E. C. Evans is an education reporter/producer with a background in documentary filmmaking and education.