News Updates

December 04, 1991 3 min read

The Los Angeles-area high school that in late October forfeited a major football game rather than play at its rival’s home field where a drive-by shooting had occurred has been formally penalized for its decision.

The Interscholastic Athletics Committee, which is the governing board of the Los Angeles city section of the California Interscholastic Federation, on Nov. 12 placed the Banning High School football program on probation for the 1992 season, said Richard Browning, the high-school division administrator for the Los Angeles Unified School District.

School and athletic officials had deemed Jackie Robinson Stadium, where Dorsey High School plays its home games, safe for play. Banning was expected to play there until a few days before the contest. (See Education Week, Nov. 6, 1991.)

The probation, usually reserved for schools whose teams have engaged in fighting during a game or whose adult staff members have rigged a game, means that if Banning High, located in Wilmington, again refuses to play at an opponent’s field for safety reasons, the LA.C. will consider further penalties, Mr. Browning said.

The committee also ruled that when Banning and Dorsey meet on the field next season, their game will be a Dorsey home game instead of rotating back to Banning’s turf, Mr. Browning added.

That game may not have to be played at Jackie Robinson Stadium, according to Mr. Browning, if both schools agree to another site.

A federal judge has ordered the Duncanville (Tex.) Independent School District to keep prayer out of school activities until a lawsuit on the issue comes to trial.

Under the injunction, issued by U.S. District Judge Robert B. Mahoney last week, the district is not to “lead, encourage, promote, or participate” in prayers during any school activities.

In May, a former Duncanville girls’ basketball player, called “Jane Doe” in the suit, sued the district after the student refused to kneel at center court with her teammates after games and recite the Lord’s Prayer. (See Education Week, June 12, 1991 .)

Duncanville school officials contend the prayers were voluntary, and they said they had already ordered an end to school prayers until the lawsuit is settled, said Ellen Barfield, a representative of the Dallas chapter of the American Civil Liberties Union.

“The school district has a long history of school prayer,” she said. “If we were to give up on the lawsuit they would go back to their old way of practicing prayer.”

The A.C.L.U. requested the injunction on behalf of the student and her family. A court date has not yet been set for the case.

A Florida high school that was ordered to forfeit two football games for including an out-of-district special-education student on its team roster won the right to play in the regional playoffs last week when a state judge issued a temporary restraining order against the Florida State High School Activities Association. (See Education Week, Nov. 20, 1991 .)

In enjoining the association from enforcing the penalty, the court ruled that Lake Brantley High School had complied with a state association bylaw permitting an exception to the transfer rule if the student is assigned to an accepted bus route, said James S. Grodin, a lawyer who represented another player.

The unidentified youth whose eligibility had been questioned was assigned to Lake Brantley because his home high school does not offer a program he needs.

“What the [association] said was you should have a waiver for this kid,” said Mr. Gredin. “But as soon as you apply, you’re discriminating, you’re treating him differently from any other kid that goes to the school.”

The school’s Patriots, who were 9 and 1 without the forfeiture, were district champs.

A version of this article appeared in the December 04, 1991 edition of Education Week as News Updates