The Alaska School Activities Association, which governs high school sports across the state, is set to vote on a new policy that would impose penalties for “hate speech.” The proposal will be taken up by the board of directors at its Feb. 22-23 meeting.
According to the policy, it aims to “Institute more severe consequences for an athlete who persists in using hate speech” or harassment. This is defined as “behavior aimed at a person’s sex, gender identification, race, religion, creed, age, national origin, ancestry, pregnancy, marital or parental status, sexual orientation, or disability that substantially interferes with a students’ school performance or creates an intimidating, hostile, or offensive school environment.”
The policy does not identify exactly what sort of comments or actions are prohibited, but it deals with more than physical harassment. Students and coaches could also run afoul for verbal and non-verbal acts.
“When contest officials witness hate speech or an act of harassment, the alleged offender shall be penalized by an IMMEDIATE EJECTION,” the proposed policy states. Additionally, the student will be required to complete the NFHS Learn Sportsmanship course.
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If a referee fails to notice the harassment, the policy encourages students to tell their coach as quickly as possible. This includes pointing out the offending players, their jersey numbers and exactly what was said. Coaches must then immediately tell the official.
“The official will then inform the other head coach of the accusation,” the policy states. “The official shall also notify ASAA with 24 hours of ALL situations in which hate speech or harassment was suspected.”
School administrators are required to meet with alleged offenders and victims and investigate the situation. If the alleged offender admits to saying the comment, he or she would be ineligible to compete until completing the sportsmanship course.
- To provide public comment during ASAA Board meetings, all comments must be first emailed to firstname.lastname@example.org prior to the meeting. Comments during the meeting are limited to three minutes.
- Click here to see the agenda and timeline for the Feb. 22-23 ASAA Board meeting.
- Click here to watch or participate in the Feb. 22 ASAA Board meeting.
- Click here to watch or participate in the Feb. 23 ASAA Board meeting.
- Click the link below to read the ASAA Hate Speech draft proposal.