The Union Recorder

Local Sports

January 25, 2013

Sports are a civil right for disabled, US says

WASHINGTON — Breaking new ground, the U.S. Education Department is telling schools they must include students with disabilities in sports programs or provide equal alternative options. The directive, reminiscent of the Title IX expansion of athletic opportunities for women, could bring sweeping changes to school budgets and locker rooms for years to come.

Schools would be required to make "reasonable modifications" for students with disabilities or create parallel athletic programs that have comparable standing as mainstream programs.

"Sports can provide invaluable lessons in discipline, selflessness, passion and courage, and this guidance will help schools ensure that students with disabilities have an equal opportunity to benefit from the life lessons they can learn on the playing field or on the court," Education Secretary Arne Duncan said in a statement announcing the new guidance on Friday.

Federal laws, including the 1973 Rehabilitation Act and the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act, require states to provide a free public education to all students and bans schools that receive federal funds from discriminating against students with disabilities. Going further, the new directive from the Education Department's civil rights division explicitly tells schools and colleges that access to interscholastic, intramural and intercollegiate athletics is a right.

"This is a landmark moment for students with disabilities. This will do for students with disabilities what Title IX did for women," said Terri Lakowski, who led a coalition pushing for the changes for a decade. "This is a huge victory."

Education Department officials emphasized they did not intend to change sports' traditions dramatically or guarantee students with disabilities a spot on competitive teams. Instead, they insisted schools cannot exclude students based on their disabilities if they can keep up with their classmates.

"It's not about changing the nature of the game or the athletic activity," said Seth Galanter, the acting assistant secretary for civil rights at the Education Department.

Text Only
Local Sports
  • 04-23 Ramsey Pro decision.jpg Ramsey turning professional

    One year of college golf is enough for Ashlan Ramsey.

    April 23, 2014 1 Photo 1 Story

  • 04-19 Grigley signing 1.JPG Bravette joining Jackson State track

    Baldwin High School track and field underclassmen sat in awe of senior Alashawn Grigley Thursday, as she signed a National Letter of Intent to further her athletic and academic career at Jackson State University.

    April 19, 2014 1 Photo 1 Story

  • 04-18 Chambers AOW 3.JPG UR ATHLETE OF THE WEEK: Chambers leads Lady Trojan soccer

    While the season has been a difficult one for the John Milledge Academy girls’ soccer team, they wrapped up their regular season on a positive note with junior forward Kelsey Chambers posting big numbers in the final two games to earn Athlete of the Week honors.

    April 18, 2014 1 Photo

  • 04-10 GMC Prep Baseball 1.JPG GMC bats stale after break

    Coming off a brief hiatus from live competitions, Georgia Military Prep School baseball blew off some rust in their first game since spring break against First Presbyterian Day School at home Wednesday night.

    April 10, 2014 1 Photo

  • Lady Dogs notch two conference wins

    Winning seven of their last eight games, the Georgia Military College Lady Dogs softball team appears to be on a roll as they reach the final stretch of their regular season.

    April 4, 2014

  • 04-02 JMA Baseball 1.JPG JMA baseball still hot

    The John Milledge Academy baseball team earned its fifth consecutive victory Tuesday afternoon with a 6-0 home shutout of Augusta Prep.

    April 2, 2014 2 Photos

  • JMA logo NEW 2011.jpg JMA baseball heating up

    Westminster didn't put up much of a fight on Tuesday, as the John Milledge Academy varsity baseball team cruised to a 12-5 blowout win in Augusta.

    March 28, 2014 1 Photo 1 Story

  • 03-28 AOW_James Bell.jpg UR ATHLETE OF THE WEEK: Senior carries Braves offense

    In a sport known for its low scoring games, it is unusual for a soccer player to earn more than one goal in a single contest.

    March 28, 2014 1 Photo

  • Lee Hannah.JPG Hannah brings ‘Be Great’ attitude to BHS

    What will you do to be great?
    What legacy will you leave?

    March 26, 2014 1 Photo 1 Story

  • 03-26 JMA baseball_Zach Meeks.jpg JMA baseball team solid over Trinity Christian

    The John Milledge Academy baseball team returned from its school spring break looking impressive in a 7-1 win over visiting Trinity Christian School Monday afternoon in a non-region contest at Trojan Field.

    March 25, 2014 1 Photo