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State Board Of Education Broadens Scope Of Athletic Opportunities

     The State Board of Education has approved of new language to be added to the MPSSAA by-laws under the heading of  "Equal Opportunity for Participation" that provides equitable access for students with disabilities to high school interscholastic athletic programs.  The State Board also approved guidelines for school systems to develop Corollary Athletic Programs which fall outside of MPSSAA by-laws and allow for greater flexibility in meeting the athletic needs of students with disabilities.

     The newly approved language that will be added to the by-laws section of the MPSSAA Handbook under section .04 Operational Guidelines as item A. (2) which states:

(2) Athletics Equity for Students with Disabilities.

     (a)     Students who meet the eligibility requirements of Regulation .02 of this chapter may not be excluded on the basis of disability from the opportunity to try out for and if selected, participate in mainstream interscholastic athletic programs.

     (b)     Member Maryland Public Secondary Schools Athletic Association (MPSSAA) schools shall provide reasonable accommodations necessary to provide students with disabilities with equal opportunities to participate to the fullest extent possible in mainstream athletic programs.

     (c)     Students with disabilities who meet the eligibility requirements of Regulation .02 of this chapter may be excluded from mainstream athletic programs if inclusion:
               (i)   presents an objective safety risk to the student or others based on an individualized assessment of the student: or

               (ii)  fundamentally alters the nature of the school's mainstream athletic program.

     Corollary Athletic Programs may also be created by school systems in order to provide athletically-related opportunities outside of MPSSAA regulations for students with disabilities.  These programs have greater flexibility in their design without being held to the same parameters as the mainstream interscholastic athletic program.  The newly approved guidelines for the development of Corollary Athletic Programs are available by selecting the link above the story.

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