Hyattsville Middle School has proven able to put together formidable sports teams that can compete with other schools in the area.
However, this year things may change.
The middle school, known for its creative and performing arts awards, is now under a new administration.
A controversial regulation has recently been imposed upon the students by the new administration, which states that students may only participate in two extracurricular activities per year. This logic behind this is that a child's dedication to sports may hinder his devotion to his creative and performing arts schedules, thus causing the school to lose a coveted award.
The policy affects over 30 percent of students and forces many of the school's better athletes to decide against joining a sports team.
One of the children involved in the Creative and Performing Arts (CPA) program might not be able to play his favorite sport due to this regulation.
Already playing baseball, a current seventh grader is prohibited from participating in soccer. Had he known about the regulations beforehand, he may have not played baseball, according to PTA President Errick King.
According to HMS Athletic Director Duff Durkin, students have always been required to sign a performance contract which requires them to maintain a grade point average of 2.0 and higher in order to play sports. They also must display positive behavior while in school. It wasn't until this year that the limited extracurricular activity stipulation was added.
"We were upset because [the implementation of the new rule] wasn't emphasized," King said. "We must have overlooked it."
Principle Susie Long explained the new contract in a PTA meeting this past September.
"After 12 years of [the previous] administration, a change is a major adjustment. We're working as hard as we can to keep order, knowing that we have strong parental support," she said during the meeting.
However, some parents aren't in lockstep with Long on this.
According to Durkin, when two young female students realized that they were prohibited from participating in basketball this season, their parents put up a fight, forcing the school to allow their daughters to participate.
Although these parents were able to circumvent the limited extracurricular activities clause, other HMS parents have not been so lucky.
"If we communicated it better, parents would have felt better with it," King said.
While there have been some problems, this regulation has not been harmful to all.
King's daughter Eryca, an eight-grader at HMS, is in the media and arts program, but has not faced any problems with the new regulations, as her athletic practices luckily fell on different days than her CPA program, allowing her to participate in athletics.
"We understand the kids are in the program and this is a priority, but back with [former] Principal Golden, they were meeting during the day and had the time to participate after school. Now they meet afterwards, so how can you be in CPA and still have basketball?"
Such importance is placed on performing arts at HMS, as it has proven so successful in the past. This year, the media arts program is going to Chicago, the band and choir will travel to Florida, and the orchestra and dance programs are planning on visiting New York for competition.
Plenty of parents were unhappy with the new regulations closer to the beginning of the school year. The trend, however, may be changing.
"We had some parents that were very upset, but we haven't heard a lot about it lately," King said.
The regulation is still in place at this time and will be discussed at this Tuesday's PTA meeting.
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