Author Topic: Judge blows call on ESL Flyers playoff appearance  (Read 864 times)

Offline Curtis Metcalf

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Judge blows call on ESL Flyers playoff appearance
« on: November 04, 2010, 01:05:23 pm »
Judge blows call on ESL Flyers playoff appearance

By James Ingram
Thursday, November 4, 2010 12:42 AM CDT


Well, the East St. Louis Senior High School Flyers playoff saga continues. And that’s unfortunate for all parties involved.

Last week the Illinois High School Association ruled that the Flyers had to forfeit five games because one their players, Charles Tigue, was ineligible as the result of residing in Belleville, which is outside of the ESL school district. That fact was determined because of an electronic monitoring device worn by Tigue who awaits trial for armed robbery.

The forfeiture of those five games officially eliminated the Flyers from the post-season playoff picture. Another player, Anthony Pierson, has also been declared ineligible due to residency issues.

Since that time the ESL school district appealed the IHSA decision and was granted a stay by St. Clair Judge Richard Aguirre, permitting the Flyers to participate in the playoffs, based on Aguirre’s finding that the ESL school board didn’t have sufficient opportunity to respond to probation records which verified Tigue’s residence as Belleville.

So, as a graduate of East St. Louis Senior High, why am I not cheering, you may ask?

Because I am thoroughly disgusted with ESL Superintendent Theresa Saunders, ESL coaches, administrators, parents and conspiracy theorists pretending and asserting that there is some vast plot by the IHSA to eliminate the ESL Flyers from the playoffs.

For the past week, I’ve listened to Dr. Saunders refer to the IHSA ruling as “malicious” and heard parents and Flyers fans express the “unfairness” of eliminating the Flyers from the playoffs.

Really, Dr. Saunders? Malicious? What’s more malicious than teaching kids to defend themselves when they cheat? Apply that same standard to ESL academics, and you get the “hot mess” that is ESL public schools.

Last time I counted, the Flyers won seven state football championships with students who resided in ESL and with kids who weren’t accused of robbery. It’s not necessary to cheat on the residency requirements or defend wrong-doing in order to win.

That’s the teachable moment that’s being missed here in a school district full of so-called educators. The lesson is that when we engage in wrong-doing there is a consequence.

And if ESL residents and school administrators ignore ethics and the evidence, while upholding flagrant cheating, then when they have a legitimate complaint no one will want to listen because they have undermined their credibility and integrity over something as trivial as a football game.

I only wish that the ESL school district big-wigs and parents were this adamant and outraged over the abysmal academic performance and test scores of students within their city.

The judge’s ruling sends the wrong message to ESL student athletes, and it cheats other high school playoff participants by forcing them to engage in a playoff picture whose results may, ultimately, be overturned by the IHSA anyway.

That means that the Flyers could actually win the Illinois state championship only to have it taken away, at a later date, over a technicality.

It’s a waste of time, a mixed message to send to our students (about honesty, integrity and good sportsmanship) and a travesty, in that no one emerges as a true winner. I truly hope that someone gets a clue, and soon.
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