“We might not have prom. We might not have graduation — at least let us play a little bit of something we love,” declared Zora Flash, senior, Sweet Home High School, Amherst.
The state and Erie County said high school winter sports is allowed to resume, but students in the Sweet Home Central School District are fearing their school board will say no.
“And for them to just have a possibility of us not having a season with everyone around us playing — it's like disappointing to all of us,” stated Dominic Lewis, senior, Sweet Home High School.
Flash and Lewis both play varsity basketball, one of the high risk, winter sports allowed to resume as early as Monday.
But at Tuesday night's school board meeting, board members raised red flags about student safety.
“I think the timing of this is horrid, once again they pit school officials in a horrible situation,” remarked Nadine Ocasio.
Other high risk sports the board is considering jump-starting next week include wrestling and ice hockey. Football, volleyball and competitive cheer leading would resume March 22 and lacrosse May 10.
Sweet Home Schools superintendent Anthony Day says ten percent of players would be tested each week.
If any player or coach tests positive, all games and sports activities would be canceled for ten days.
“And that doesn't mean every person on the team goes into quarantine — it just means the team can't meet and participate,” Day explained.
Board member Ocasio says the district should not be forced to restart sports, voicing her opposition.
“We don’t have to do anything,” Ocasio said. “One kid dies — that blood is not on my hands."
But one Sweet Home school parent said she’s ready for her son to return to return to his sport.
“As a parent, I am comfortable with my son having close contact with another student because I know the both of them have been tested,” replied Ceciyyah Colvin.
Colvin’s son, Aaron Shareef, 15, says he’s a wrestler. Colvin says if testing and protocols are followed, her son would be safe.
“You're still willing to take that risk?” Buckley asked. “Yes, I’m willing to take that risk,” answered Colvin.
“As a parent of a wrestler, I think that what's most important is to get these kids to have somewhat of a normalcy,” Colvin responded.
“I feel like at the end of the day, it should be a parent's decision if their kid chooses to participate in a sport or not,” Shareef said.
The wrestler says he's not worried about close contact and students need to be playing sports again.
“To me, I think it's more about peoples mental health,” Shareef reflected.
Students posted an on-line petition on change.org.
Flash and Lewis say they will fight for the return of sport just as they did last fall and won.
“I just don't think you should take this away from us,” Flash replied. “I know it's very important to stay safe, but it does feel like this is something that needs to happen.”
“We do respect your decision — whether it's a yes or a no, but all we ask is really, if you could, look at both sides of the spectrum,” Lewis said.
Parents and the public can weigh-in on this topic at a school board meeting that starts at 8 a.m. Saturday.