McCOOK, Nebraska -- An academic policy that was shot down by the 2006 McCook School Board, was approved by current board members Monday night.
The board passed a written policy that tightens up academic standards for students involved in sports or clubs, which requires students to maintain passing grades in all but one class in order to remain eligible for participation in a competition.
A student failing two classes will have a one-week "grace" period to bring up grades.
There had been no written policy before, but the school had followed state guidelines that allow students to participate in school-sanctioned activities if they pass four classes in the prior semester.
An academic eligibility policy was first brought to the McCook School Board in 2006, but was defeated 5-1, with board members Tom Bredvick (current board president), Mike Gonzales, Greg Larson, Jim Coady and Ron Soden voting against it and Diane Lyons (current board member) in favor.
"I'm glad to see the climate has changed," she said at the close of Monday's regular board meeting.
According to the policy, beginning the third week of classes each quarter, any student failing two or more classes will be ineligible to represent McCook High School.
Grades will be reviewed Friday morning by 10 a.m. to determine eligibility. The list of ineligible students will be available to the teachers, as well as the coaches and sponsors, by 12 p.m. Friday.
Ineligible students will not be allowed to participate in any activity, including athletic contests, dances, prom, homecoming and color day royalty, non-academic performances, or club activities, until the eligibility requirement has been met.
The new policy is similar to what other schools use, Lyons said, repeating that the intent is not to discourage participation in school activities but to encourage the importance of education.
"We want them to participate but grade support is the strongest foundation they have," she said.
Before it was voted on Monday night, the policy was reviewed and tweaked the past few months by board members who serve on the Activities and Policy Committees.
The board seemed satisfied with the final result and wanted to make clear the intent of the policy.
"This is not to demean students, but to help achieve higher standards for the student body," said board vice president Larry Shields.
"Wherever you set the bar, students meet or exceed it," Lyons added.