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Bethlehem sports new varsity guidelines

The Bethlehem Board of Education has addressed the districts' guidelines pertaining to its athletics program following a controversy involving student athletes being cut from teams for missing practices.

Although a resolution outlining absences from the athletic program hasn't been officially adopted, a framework resolution was accepted by the school board during its Wednesday, May 7, meeting.

School officials and athletic directors are currently working on the exact language to be adopted into the district's new rules.

The situation came to light after a couple of students were forced to choose between season-beginning practices and a missionary trip to help Katrina victims during spring break.

It resulted in the students being cut from their respective teams for choosing to go to New Orleans instead of practicing.

In response to media and residents' criticism over the situation, school officials put together a committee of athletic directors, coaches, parents, and students, to re-evaluate its athletic guidelines.

According to the new guidelines, which pertain strictly to varsity-level athletes, students are expected to attend every practice and every competition. If extenuating circumstances are known before the beginning of the season students are to notify the school immediately and parents are being asked to schedule family obligations and events around the athletic calendar.

If student athletes are unable to fulfill their obligations to the team, they may choose not to participate for the season, the guidelines state. "Should extenuating circumstances be known prior to the season beginning, the student should communicate this information to the coach and Athletic Director before the first day of try outs."

The guidelines also state that if a student misses a competition, that student will have to sit out of an equal number of competitions.

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