The North Clay School Board voted to repeal its new athletic policy at it's board meeting Monday.
The new policy, passed at a meeting on Dec. 12, changed the punishment for students who violated the athletic policy to students being required to miss seven games before being suspended for one year from the team. The previous athletic policy stipulated students violating the policy would miss 365 days of athletics following a violation.
After passing the new policy, students were required to sign and return the new policy. However, 53 students, 24 junior high and 29 high school, refused to sign the policy. At the special meeting Monday, the board discussed how to deal with the students who refused to sign, which would leave the teams with extremely small rosters going into the Dieterich Holiday Tournament.
"We've backed ourselves into a corner," said board member Jenny McKinney. "We can't have an extension. Legally, they have to sign it if they want to play."
One parent said the attempt to force students to sign a new policy showed weakness on the part of the board and inconsistency in discipline and support of school administration.
"The only thing that really aggravated me is you've already set a precedent for what you're going to do," said Jeff Walker. "Why change horses in midstream when you can wait and do it at the end of the year? You've already set a precedent and the attitude in Louisville and in other towns is that you guys backed down."
McKinney said the board was presented with two options, either requiring students to sign the new policy or be denied participating in athletics, or the board repeal the new policy, returning to the old policy.
Other board members said an extension, giving students and parents a month to sign the policy and change their perspective could bring the issue to an end.
"They've made their choice and now we need to make ours," said board member Mike Worthey. "We haven't talked about anything of educational value all year."
The board approved repealing the new policy and reverting to the old policy by a vote of 4-0 with Worthey and Cecil Cochran abstaining.
See Thursday's print edition of the Effingham Daily News for more information on this story.