Monday, May 16, 2011

Dunwoody wants to play Lacrosse at the sanctioned Georgia High School Association (GHSA) level but is not being allowed by DeKalb County School System.

Dunwoody Lady Wildcat Lacrosse Team

I have received a number of emails requesting my assistance in pushing for the furtherance of the sport of Lacrosse in the Dunwoody area and several of them have mentioned that Dunwoody High School's Lacrosse Teams are having a hard time being allowed by the DeKalb County School System to play other teams at the sanctioned Georgia High School Association (GHSA) level.  I have never seen a Lacrosse game in my life but know that Dick's Sporting Goods and Sports Authority have big displays in the spring therefore I know someone, somewhere is playing it.

I have no authority over the DeKalb County School System and I don't know the facts related to sanctioned vs non-sanctioned play for the Dunwoody Lacrosse team but as a Dunwoody City Councilman I am able to plan for green spaces for the community to play the game and I have attempted to do that. As a blogger with a voice and a following within the community, I am happy to raise the issue for discussion.  Here is a Crier article from March and below is a snipit of an email I received on the subject.  What are your thoughts?
For a number of years, there has been a burgeoning Lacrosse program at the high school which has played at the club level. It is now time to elevate the teams (both boys & girls) to the sanctioned Georgia High School Association (GHSA) level so that we can play other sanctioned teams from the area. At present, DeKalb County is the only county which does not offer sanctioned Lacrosse teams. If you live in Gwinnett, Fulton, Forsyth, Cobb or City of Atlanta you have the option of playing on a sanctioned team. Or you can also choose from a myriad of private school options in the area.

Because of the failure of providing this as an option for student athletes, for many incoming transferees whose children have played the sport in other areas of the country, DeKalb (and thus Dunwoody) is eliminated from consideration as a place to buy a home.

Lacrosse parents have met with DCSS employees and have basically been told that sanctioning is not an option as long as the school system can’t afford to offer lacrosse to all schools – this in spite of the fact that the Dunwoody lacrosse teams will be completely self-supporting and will not require any funding at all from the school system.


Anonymous said...

Absolutely absurd.

The County should most definitely allow Dunwoody to play. The County should not be allowed to drag all schools down to their already unacceptable standards.

Contact all Board members and demand them to change their policy.

Dunwoody Mom said...

What makes this even more frustrating is that there will NO COST to DCSS in sanctioning Lacrosse for Dunwoody HS. The Lacrosse community, both boys and girls, have told DCSS that the FULL cost of this will be born by the teams, not DCSS.

The bureaucratic nonsense from DCSS officials is frustrating, nonsensical and disingenuous.

DHS Lacrosse parents plan to carry this to the Board of Education in hopes that common-sense will prevail.

John Heneghan said...

I emailed Nancy Jester our school board rep and she sent me the following email and asked that I post it to my blog.

Hi John!

I’ve been involved with this issue and attended a meeting last Friday with parents and representatives from the administration. I sent the email below (see item #2 re: lacrosse) requesting this matter be put on our June agenda so that the Board can offer direction on this. I continue to stay in touch with the lacrosse parents and they are aware of my support and this email. Please share this so that your readers know that I am working on this issue.


Sent: Friday, May 13, 2011 5:44 PM
Subject: agenda items

2 - Lacrosse

I would like you to add the matter of approving GHSA sanctioned Lacrosse in DeKalb. The DHS Lacrosse team has repeatedly asked for this because teams across the metro area are rapidly moving from club level to GHSA level and this leaves them with few teams to play; especially the girls team. The DHS team is asking for no funding - ZERO dollars. They will be completely self-supporting and will sign waivers, etc. to this point. I also stress that lacrosse is one of the unique sports where the genders compete in similar fashions and they are not tracked into different competitive environments.

The administration has taken the position that if Lacrosse becomes GHSA sanctioned in DeKalb then DCSS will have to offer Lacrosse at all 19 athletic programs with funding. Their position is that it is only equitable if you provide funding across all programs. This is in contrast with the practices of other metro area school systems that have lacrosse programs in some schools and not others. Keep in mind, DHS is asking for ZERO dollars! I believe that equity is is based on opportunity and access not funding. All high schools in DeKalb would have equal access to field a team if they sponsored the cost. Our system is replete with examples of programs and unique offerings that are not at every school. Indeed, every community and school will have different tastes and preferences for what sports and activities they offer. I would think that the best methodology for sports would be to give an allotment of money to each school and say that they could use it pursuant to their communities' desires and if they would like to field a team without funding from the county; so be it.

That's equitable. I digress.

I believe this type of administrative decision is punitive and endangers the support of SPLOST IV from the community. If one high school that is succeeding, an increasingly rare find, is offering to pay for lacrosse and is prevented from doing so by the administration, I believe the BOE needs to provide clarity on this subject. In particular, I would like us to have a policy that allows any school to field a team in a sport and have it sanctioned by GHSA automatically, so long as all costs are borne by outside sources and no funds from DCSS are expended.

So, I request that you place this matter on the agenda for June. There are no implications for the budget. Time is of the essence so that these young people can play in the next academic year. To delay is to deny and, again, I say it is punitive.

John Heneghan said...

Dunwoody Crier just posted a Lacrosse story on their website.

Dunwoody High School’s Steve Fortenberry submitted an application to the GHSA to sanction DHS teams for 2012, prior to the April 1 deadline. Before the meeting, parents and school administrators learned that the county had withdrawn the application.

Parents, DHS teachers, DeKalb county school board member Nancy Jester, and school system representatives - including Dr. Tim Freeman, superintendent of support services, Ron Sebree, the county’s athletic director, and Terry Segovis, an area assistant superintendent - met at DHS last Friday to discuss the topic.

At the meeting, Freeman explained that the school system would not support an athletic program at one school unless that same athletic program can be offered at all schools in DeKalb County. This explanation did not sit well with parents, who were willing to fund the sport via a booster club, or with Jester, who said she would raise the issue with the school board.

waterman said...


Thank you for posting this. Parents and Lacrosse players in the northern Gwinnett County high schools had a similar uphill battle, but the collective of Norcross, Duluth, Collins Hill, Peachtree Ridge, Mill Creek, etc. prevailed in their fight with GCPS to compete in GHSA Lacrosse. The same obstacle was thrown up by GCPS. "If we can't offer it at all schools..."

DHS LAX parents should also check to see if there is interest at Chamblee, Druid Hills and Lakeside. I bet if they look hard enough, they will find neighborhood connections to the Decatur recreational LAX program as well some of the other nearby recreational and traveling LAX programs.

The Wildcats probably aren't alone in DeKalb in their desire to play GHSA Lacrosse.

Thanks for the post!

Robert Burns
DHS & PCMS Parent

diana said...

Just another interseting tidbit about Dunwoody lacrosse.
A big WILDCAT CONGRATULATIONS to Andrew Bryant, this year's honoree from Dunwoody for the Ron Mallonee Schoarship Award. This award is presented each May to a select group of deserving Georgia high school boys. These scholarships allow these young men to attend lacrosse summer camp where they can continue to learn and improve their skills. A veteran lacrosse official in Georgia, Ron was a Charter Member of the association who passed away in 2004 after a brief battle with cancer. In his memory, GLOA created the Ron Mallonee Fund which annually awards camp scholarships to deserving high school boys who have a passion for the sport of lacrosse and a desire to improve. Since the Ron Mallonee Fund's inception in 2005, GLOA has been able to provide scholarships to over forty players from the state of Georgia to attend lacrosse camp.

Jack B. Nimble said...

John, please excuse-off subject,

Susan Wittenstein circulated this in our subdivision; I thought maybe you could give it more exposure. I have a picture, but don't know if I can upload it.

We found this pup near the market yesterday with a broken leash. Does he below to anyone you know?

He is a young male, looks like a yellow lab and hound mix with a black harness and broken rope attached. Very sweet boy

...Nancy Lassig