The Questa Independent School District (QISD) Board voted to suspend the current policy regarding interscholastic sports. Superintendent John Maldonado told the Board that they still need approval from the New Mexico Activities Association (NMAA) to fully amend the policy.
At the start of the academic year, the QISD’s policy on student athletics aligned with the policy of the New Mexico Athletics Association (NMAA) stating that junior varsity athletes could play up to varsity if desired and varsity athletes could play down if desired. However, parents expressed some frustration and the Board suspended the policy during the September 6 meeting.
QISD Athletic Director Ernie Griego, speaking with the Questa del Rio News, explained that the concern is likely over safety regarding younger students participating in a rough contact sport like American football.
The Questa News inquired of Athletic Director Griego about the need for a junior varsity team.
“There were a lot of parents that did want [a junior high team] because we had been doing youth football for many years prior to it so they kind of didn’t want their kids sitting idle for two, three years,” responded Griego. “I looked at the numbers… Last year we had 23 boys playing varsity, and then I had these youth kids coming up… Any time we’re gonna have this junior high program, now’s gonna be the time to try and have the numbers, and build this program back up.”
Griego further explained that he just wants to see young students stay active because it’s difficult to keep kids active today.
The policy came in front of the QISD Board for the second time during their September 18 meeting as procedure dictates and there was another vibrant discussion amongst the Board members with a smaller spectating crowd. Superintendent Maldonado recommended a return to a more strict policy of keeping athletic teams with their corresponding grade levels next year. Board Vice-president Esequiel Romero wanted to go back to the stricter policy immediately.
“The policy has been a headache… 9th grade needs to play up, that’s it,” said Board Vice-president Romero.
Vice-president Romero and Board Member Jose Lovato expressed regret towards this policy and lamented that, whatever decision they come to tonight, it’s not going to be a win. This policy seems to be dividing the community.
The eventual vote came down to 2-2 with Board President Jason Rael and Vice-President Romero in favor of reverting back to the more strict policy and Board Members Lovato and Juan Cisneros leaving the current policy in place. The tie vote means no action is taken and interscholastic sports remains in place. The issue can still be brought to the Board at a future meeting.
A recording of the September 18 meeting is available at the following URL: