Thirteen Student Athletes Suspended From Competition


Courtesy of AHS track athletes.

The Nest Staff

Female members of the Albany High track team received a one day suspension from competition earlier this week after protesting their right to wear sports bras at practice. The district moved to suspension after an argument ensued at the entry gate of a lacrosse game between the student athletes and administration on campus Thursday, May 12th.

According to the athletes, at the start of track practice on Wednesday, May 11, Athletic Director Ashley Chapple announced that female runners were prohibited from wearing sports bras to practice. Boy members of the team were told they could not run shirtless. She was met with frustration and confusion from the athletes who decided to stage an active protest the next day by wearing sports bras- the boys went shirtless- to practice.

As 87℉ weather swept over the Albany High School track the girls again wore sports bras to practice on Thursday, May 12. Without warning, Chapple told the female athletes they would need to leave practice for the day.  The student athletes say they did leave the track at her request. A public, online petition was created soon after in support of their cause.

That evening many of the student athletes returned to the track to watch a lacrosse game and support their peers, and were stopped by security staff and Athletic Director Ashley Chapple, who informed the group that since they’d be sent home from practice they could not attend any events on campus that evening. According to the student athletes, they protested loudly at the gates but did not use profanity, and were not allowed access to the lacrosse game.

Friday, May 13th a meeting was held between the student athletes and Principal Jodi Commerford. The girls received notice of a three-day suspension from track because they violated the student code of conduct in regards to insubordination.  During the meeting it was decided the suspension would be lowered to one day, meaning the girls would miss an important invitational track meet that afternoon. A second meeting was set for the following Monday between the suspended student athletes, Ms. Commerford, Ms. Chapple, and a representative from the Superintendents office.

Letters were delivered to each girl’s residence on Saturday, May 14th, regarding the suspension- of which regarded the sports bra situation and wrote that the girls used “inappropriate and disrespectful language and behavior” and “vulgar language” during the lacrosse game occurrence.  A second meeting was held between the suspended student athletes, Ms. Commerford, Ms. Chapple, and a representative from the Superintendents office on Monday, May 16th. The student athletes again shared their concerns and were assured a follow up meeting would be planned. The student athletes were also invited to participate in the committee to review the Student Code of Conduct, which will include a review of the section regarding student attire.

Superintendent Kaweeda Adams issued the following statement regarding the suspended student athletes, “Members of the Albany High School girls’ track and field team served a suspension Friday (5/13) due to inappropriate and disrespectful behavior directed toward an administrator. Their suspension was in no way related to wardrobe. It was entirely related to their inappropriate conduct, and in alignment with our Student Code of Conduct.”

This remains a developing story. Stay tuned to The Nest for updates!