After multiple incidents last year involving fans verbally harassing student-athletes and referees, the Vermont Principals' Association is working to encourage positive fan behavior as the need for more officials increases.
Data provided by the Agency of Education shows that Vermont schools cumulatively spent about 320 school days closed, or missing at least half their kids, during the 2021-22 school year.
Last fall, Vermont school staff asked lawmakers to hold off on passing new education laws in the upcoming legislative session. But roughly seven months later, as the legislative session nears its end, lawmakers’ plates have been full when it comes to education bills.
The bump in cases came the week after the Montpelier High School Solons claimed victory at the mask-optional Division II championship in Barre.
State officials are scheduled to meet this week to consider the list of mandated vaccines in schools. Could Covid shots be added to that list?
Enosburg Falls High edged out Winooski High 3-2 in a late afternoon match that was held at Burlington High School, a neutral field. Both teams committed some fouls and were at times physical, though officials appeared to keep the game under control.
In a brief statement, the association said its decision was made “in consultation with” with the Winooski School District, which is considered the host of Tuesday’s game in Burlington against Enosburg Falls.
“This decision has been made to ensure the physical and emotional safety of all student-athletes involved,” the Vermont Principals’ Association said.
In testimony before the Vermont House education committee on Wednesday, officials said that any new education reforms would put too much pressure on schools that are already struggling.
“We have plenty of racism and sexism and stuff like that happen every single day,” said Jay Nichols, executive director of the Vermont Principals’ Association.
Allegations of abuse have to be addressed immediately so that students feel their voices are being heard, two athletic directors said.
A legislative analyst estimated the upfront cost of installing dispensers in schools statewide could be anywhere between $120,000 and $180,000 in total. The recurring, annual cost of restocking menstrual products should be on the order of $50,000 to $60,000 a year.
"There is no playbook for this," said Ben Lee, an associate professor at the University of Vermont Larner College of Medicine. "There's no definite answer for what the right thing to do is."
“It really is not incumbent upon a superintendent to make Solomon-like decisions for families,” one superintendent said.