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We congratulate: Montell's attack on attendance rule

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By The Staff

“Ladies and gentlemen, stand and cheer, your state representative, Brad Monteellllllllllll.”

If we were going to announce the name of one of our elected leaders in an introduction before a sports event, it might sound something like that, depending upon the sport and the venue.

Or how about this?

“OK class, let’s take roll…. Mr.  Montell?”

“He has a game today.”

“Oh, Mr. Montell is absent.”

Yes that’s what we might hear if Mr. Montell were a student in our public school system participating for his school.

He could be introduced at a concert, a play, a speech or even travel with his class to an I-Max theater to see Avatar and be counted as in class for the day.

But if he’s a star on one of a sports team that is playing a weekday game, he is absent.

Does that seem to be a bit of a problem? Mr. Montell thinks so, and we agree.

And that’s why we applaud his efforts to “level the playing field,” as it were, for students who play on sports teams and want to maintain perfect attendance, too.

Right now, that doesn’t happen, and Mr. Montell’s legislation, working its way through committee, would remedy that silly situation.

This, of course, applies to events such as the state basketball tournament, which will begin again Wednesday with an afternoon game in which Shelby County High School may be playing.

If it is, then those students involved will not have perfect attendance this year.

And therein lie two bits of irony – students learn about that in English class – at play here.

First, if the game were at night, a student would have had to been in class that day to be eligible to play.

Two, if we are preparing our athletes to be students at the next level, shouldn’t we treat them like students and not, well, just athletes?

If a student skips class to play on a club team, we understand, but if a boy or girl is out there wearing the gold and purple of SCHS, then isn’t he or she an extension of the school? You better believe any rule broken would be addressed as if it happened at a sanctioned activity.

We don’t know the origin of this rule, but we are certain of one thing: This one needs to be broken.

And we’re glad Mr. Montell is trying.