Yesterday a letter to the Editor was published that expressed concerns about inequities between girls and boys sports at Chatham High School. The letter was removed from the TAP after just a few hours. I don't typically find it necessary to respond to opposing opinions, but in this case, when the integrity of the high school athletic program, and more specifically the Vice Principal are called into question, I felt it appropriate to address some of the inaccuracies in yesterday's letter.
First, the author is correct when she stated that the girls ice hockey program is not receiving any funding from the school district and that they are paying for the cost of participation out of their own pockets. What she didn't mention is that this is the process for ALL new sports at Chatham High School, regardless of gender. New programs start out self- funded, and after a period of time costs can be incorporated into the district budget if they show consistent interest and sustainability. Two current examples are the co-ed Paddle program, which is now in its second year as a Varsity sport, and the Boys Volleyball Team, which had its inaugural season in the spring of 2018. Both of these programs are self-funded. They, like girls ice hockey, receive what the Athletic Booster Club is able to give, but in both cases, the families are paying the cost of participation and the coaches are working as volunteers.
I would like to commend Kevin Hannon for volunteering his time to get the girls’ hockey program off the ground. It's a huge undertaking. He, like many other volunteer coaches we have had over the past few years in girls tennis, football, softball, sailing, paddle, boys volleyball and baseball, have allowed some sports to get started and others to expand their rosters so that more students can participate in high school athletics. There is no doubt our athletes are lucky
to have these volunteers, and I know I speak for all when I say our community is grateful.
Next, the writer claims that boys teams ride to their events in coach buses and girls teams ride in “broken down old yellow school buses.” This is simply untrue. Factors like size of the team, time of the event, and distance the team needs to travel all determine what type of transportation is necessary. A yellow school bus is the most budget-friendly option. These buses also operated by a bus company with regular inspections and safety guidelines and are not “broken down", but they are not available for sporting events before 4 p.m. Those events require a van or coach bus. Teams traveling a longer distance get a coach bus with a bathroom. Gender of the team plays no role in those decisions.
Finally, I’d like to clarify that the athletic budget is not determined by one Vice Principal or Athletic Director. It is a collaborative effort that involves principals, the Superintendent, and the Business Administrator and is ultimately approved by the Board of Education. To suggest one person’s “gender bias” causes the school to violate the Title IX requirements, which so many work hard to adhere to, is absurd.
For those that don’t get the opportunity to work directly with Mr. Librera, you’d find that he tackles issues thoughtfully, answers questions, and works hard to find solutions to problems. He is always- always - at the school or athletic fields long after the last whistle has blown and the fans have all gone home. In addition to managing our athletes, he is also there to ensure that our student fans treat the opponents respectfully and represent Chatham in an appropriate manner.
In the experiences I have had in CHS athletics with my two daughters and one son, I’ve seen no evidence of “gender bias.” As the President of the Athletic Booster Club, I can attest to Mr. Librera’s commitment to support ALL of the athletes at Chatham High School and provide them with a positive experience. As a parent, I can respect that one might have frustrations or differences of opinion with teachers, administrators, and coaches. But as a person, I do not understand the need to turn those differences into a public letter laced with falsehoods and
President, Chatham High School Athletic Booster Club
Editor's Note: Letter referenced was removed because the person who submitted it did not provide their true identity