Thursday, May 23, 2024

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Graham, NC 27253
Ph: 336.228.7851

Can QB change schools? What happened to ABSS policy making athletes who transfer sit out 365 days?

QUESTION: Is the Alamance-Burlington school system violating its own rule that prohibits transfer students from participating in school sports for 365 days?

Southern High School student and Patriots’ quarterback Landon Dodson, who’s a rising senior, is transferring to Southeast High School for the 2024-25 school year and is slated to be the quarterback for the Stallions this fall.

ANSWER: Apparently not.  Instead, school officials insisted to The Alamance News that the 365-day prohibition against participation in school sports, outlined within the school board’s policy that governs school assignments and transfer requests, doesn’t apply in this type of situation.

ABSS interim public information officer Jenny Faulkner and other school officials have indicated that Dodson’s transfer request was “administratively approved,” without saying when or by whom the transfer was approved.  School officials also would not give any information about why Dodson’s transfer was approved, alluding to a federal law that provides confidentiality for “personally identifiable” information about students without prior consent from the student and/or his parents.

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Faulkner instead pointed to a provision in the school assignment policy, which states: “The superintendent…may administratively assign a student to a school other than the one to which the student would otherwise be assigned.”

The interim PIO also insisted the 365-day period of athletic ineligibility only applies to certain types of transfers, such as transfers to schools that are over capacity unless absolutely necessary for “a student’s physical or mental health issues or to address substantial safety concerns”; or transfer requests during the school year that don’t involve a change in domicile.  The policy prohibits all transfer requests “based on athletics.”

The school board’s eight-page student assignment policy outlines the following conditions regarding participation in school sports:

  • A student who doesn’t move but is granted a transfer must wait 365 calendar days to become athletically eligible at the new school.
  • A student who hasn’t moved but has previously been granted a transfer within the same grade span (i.e., elementary, middle, or high school) is ineligible to participate in school-sponsored athletic programs at the new school for 365 calendar days, unless the new school is within the student’s school attendance zone.
  • A student who moves during the school year remains eligible to participate in school-sponsored sports, whether the student finishes the school year at the current school or finishes the school year at the new school, provided the student meets all state and local eligibility requirements.
  • However, student is prohibited from ever playing the same sport at two schools during the same sport season.
  • These rules do not require a student who is granted consecutive grade span transfers to schools within the same attendance zone to serve a period of athletic ineligibility upon moving from middle school to high school.
  • No child of a full-time school employee who is granted a transfer is prohibited from participating in sports, providing that the transfer request is not based on athletics.

THE PUBLIC ASKS: Have a question about a matter of public record? Call The Alamance News at (336) 228-7851; write to the newspaper at P.O. Box 431, Graham, NC 27253; or e-mail alamancenews@mail.com.

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