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No B-ball in AZ: The Superintendent Speaks

May 13, 2010 - 2:52 PM | by: Mike Tobin

The Superintendent of Highland Park Schools, Dr. George Fornero, sent a message out to parents regarding the decision to keep the Girls’ Varsity Basketball team from playing in Arizona.

It’s pretty much a duplicate of what the Assistant Superintendent, Sue Hebson, wrote Wednesday with a few new paragraphs at the end.  I took the phone numbers off, but that’s the extent to the editing I did.

Date: May 13, 2010 12:57:41 PM CDT

Subject: HPHS Girls’ Basketball Trip

Township High School District 113

1040 Park Avenue West · Highland Park, IL 60035-2283

May 13, 2010

Dear District 113 Parents, Students and Staff:

As you are aware, there has been significant media attention to Township High School District 113’s decision to not send the Highland Park High School varsity girls’ basketball team to a tournament in Scottsdale, Arizona scheduled for December, 2010.  This decision is not a political statement regarding the State of Arizona’s recently enacted legislation regarding immigration.

Under long standing constitutional law, all school districts are required to provide an education to all children within the District’s borders regardless of immigration status. District 113 boasts a diverse student population and, as a school district, we believe in equal opportunity for each of our students.  The selection of a girls’ varsity basketball team for the 2010-2011 winter athletic season will take place in November, 2010.  The team has yet to be selected.  When our students travel, the school district is responsible, both legally and ethically, for their safety, security and liberty.  We cannot commit at this time to playing at a venue where some of our students’ safety or liberty might be placed at risk because of state immigration law.  Our athletes will play in a competitive basketball tournament during their winter break.

Another important clarification relates to the misreporting that is present in some media outlets.  The basketball team has not qualified for a national championship tournament. Rather, they were striving to find a venue for next season that would stretch them and serve to unify the group as a team.  The protocol to take a trip within the US is to request approval from the Executive Council team.  The Arizona travel request was submitted to Executive Council just two weeks ago.  The request was denied for the reasons previously stated.

I believe it is important that our community members understand the facts of the situation.  While I am sure that with a complex issue such as this, reasonable people can disagree on a decision, it is essential that the community understand that our primary motivation is to show care and concern for all of our students.  Ensuring equality for all is a fundamental value for District 113.

Sincerely,

George V. Fornero

Superintendent

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