Bill seeks statewide policy on academic-related suspensions from extracurriculars

DES MOINES — Iowa legislators may get involved in a dispute over how long an Iowa high school student may be suspended from extracurricular activities for academic reasons. Senator Jake Chapman of Adel says one central Iowa student was barred from athletics for 30 days, then had to sit out of drama for the next 30 days.

“Really, the student was double penalized,” Chapman says.

Chapman says a suspension because a student is failing in the classroom should last 30 days — for all activities.

“It’s not just one case. There’s been several cases of this occuring,” Chapman says. “Obviously we want our students to excel in academics, but we also want them to excel in extracurricular activities and because there’s no clarity, they’re getting double-penalized.”

Chapman’s bill directs the Iowa Girls High School Athletic Union and the Iowa High School Athletic Association, which oversees boys sports, to develop a policy that does not impose “multiple periods of ineligibility.”

“We’ve met with the different stakeholder groups and they thought this language was appropriate to sit down together and come up with that policy,” Chapman says.

The School Administrators of Iowa is the only group registered as opposed to the bill. A spokesman for the group says local school boards and administrators should make the call on what suspension policies should be in their districts