549 Co-Curricular Activities

Participation in school activities is a privilege. School activities provide the benefits of promoting additional interests and abilities in students during their school years and for their lifetimes.

Students may participate in interscholastic athletics, music, speech, and other contests or events approved by the administration subject to the rules and regulations which govern participation in general for each event or contest.  Any such events must be supervised by licensed school personnel.

The District is affiliated and pays dues as a member of the Iowa FFA Association, Iowa State Music Association, Iowa State Speech Association, Iowa High School Athletic Association, the Iowa High School Girls’ Athletic Union, and the Iowa Association of Student Councils. Therefore, the school is subject to all the rules and regulations of these associations and the Department of Education.

Students who participate in extracurricular activities serve as ambassadors of the school District throughout the calendar year, whether away from school or at school.  Students who wish to have the privilege of participating in extracurricular activities must conduct themselves in accordance with Board policy and must refrain from activities which are illegal, immoral or unhealthy.

Students who fail to abide by this policy and the administrative regulations supporting it may be subject to disciplinary measures. The principal will keep records of violations of this policy.

Furthermore, a student may not violate the rules and regulations of the state associations and/or the discipline policy of the District or any rules and regulations pertaining to eligibility for extra-curricular activity, without jeopardizing the student’s continued participation as it may apply.

It is the responsibility of the superintendent to develop rules and regulations for school activities. Students wanting to participate in school activities must meet the requirements set out by the school District for participation in the activity.

549.1 Co-Curricular Activities Regulations

The rules and regulations of the District and state associations shall be in effect for all events in which students participate, representing the District, during or after school hours, either on school premises or off school premises for events considered school sponsored or school approved activities. This policy includes athletics, speech, drama, music, academic competitions, FFA competitions, FCCLA activities, cheerleading, dance, homecoming royalty and other royalty, speaker at graduation and other school related events, competitive conference activities or performing or participating in any activity as a representative of the District.   

Penalties for violations after school hours or at designated places for events will be the same as during regularly scheduled school hours or on school premises except where a special discipline policy has been specified. This includes particular rules and regulations established by the Department of Education, director of the activity, special temporary restrictions imposed on the students prior to this scheduled event, and any other mandates determined by the administration.

Additionally, the executive Boards of the Iowa High School Athletic Association (IHSAA) and the Iowa Girls High School Athletic Union (IGHSAU) may sanction member and associate member schools that permit or allow participation in any event by a person in violation of the eligibility rules or by a student who has been suspended from school and/or school activities in accordance with local rules.

General Co-curricular Activities Policies

  1. Students who participate in the above co-curricular activity programs are subject to the rules and policies governing activity eligibility participation and the training and conduct rules set down by the coach or sponsor, twenty-four hours per day, year round. Students may be declared ineligible from activity participation by the athletic director, principal or the superintendent/designee for violation of any of these rules and policies.
  2. The principal/designee shall be responsible for informing coaches/sponsors of which students are not eligible for participation.
  3. A student with an unexcused absence during any part of the school day will not be eligible for activity participation on the day of the absence, unless approved by the principal/designee.
  4. Freshmen (ninth grade students) may not participate in junior varsity football and basketball or varsity interscholastic athletic competition in any sport or cheerleading except with the recommendation of the coach/sponsor, and, approval of the athletic director/principal, in consultation with the parents or guardians.
  5. Beyond the freshman year, a coach may cut a student from an athletic activity before the first contest by notifying the athletic director/principal and the parents/guardians of the reason why the participant is being cut.
  6. A student will not be penalized for non-participation (practice or contests) during regularly scheduled vacation periods, if that student is excused from these by his/her parent or guardian. Communication between the parent/guardian, athletic director, and coach is required prior to a participant’s absence that will occur during a scheduled vacation period.
  7. A student may not be dropped from practice or competition during the season or during tournament play unless he/she has violated the Districts or coach’s good conduct rules or the Department of Education eligibility rules. In the event that a student is to be removed for this cause, the athletic director/principal will be notified and will be a part of the decision and the appropriate action. The parent/guardian shall be notified of the action taken.
  8. If a student drops one activity for good cause during the season, he/she will not be penalized for participation in any succeeding activity for which he/she is eligible for the same good cause offense.
  9. Athletic directors, coaches, and sponsors have the prerogative to establish reasonable training and conduct rules, when not in conflict with District policy and regulations, for a particular co-curricular activity or competition, all of which must be followed by the participants, including but not limited to, the special rules below. Those rules shall be sent to the students’ parents/guardians before the activity commences.

Department of Education Co-curricular Activities Policies

A. Eligibility Rules

  1. Eligibility may be compromised if any of the following are true:

a. You do not have a physician’s certificate of fitness issued this school year.

b. You have attended high school for more than eight (8) semesters (twenty days of attendance or playing in one contest constitutes a semester). Middle school students who have completed more than four (4) semesters in 7th or 8th grade may not be eligible to participate in middle school activities.

c. You were not enrolled in high school last semester or if you entered school this semester later than the second week of school and were not enrolled in school immediately prior to enrolling at the high school. (Not applicable to the middle school.)

d. You have changed schools this semester, except upon like change of residence of your parents/guardians. (Not applicable to the middle school.)

e. You have been declared ineligible under a prior school District’s Good Conduct Rule, and then, without having completed the full period of ineligibility at that school, transfer to the high school. You may not be eligible for interscholastic competition at the high school until the full period of ineligibility has been completed. Once that time period of ineligibility has been completed, you are then immediately eligible for interscholastic competition at the high school as far as any Good Conduct Rule is concerned.

f. You have competed on an outside school team as a team member or as an individual while out for a sport during that particular sport season without the previous written consent of your current coach, athletic director, and parent/guardian with the exception of dance.

g. You have ever trained with a college squad or have participated in a college event.

h. Your habits and conduct both in and out of school are such as to make you unworthy to represent the ideals, principles, and standards of your school.

B. Scholarship Rules for Athletics

  1. Application of Scholarship Rules

a. Scholarship Rules apply to all member and associate member schools that belong to the IHSAA and the IGHSAU. Schools may not allow ineligible or suspended students to participate. The IHSAA and the IGHSAU have the power to impose sanctions upon schools that do not enforce Scholarship rules.

b. In addition, Scholarship Rules apply to all students who are members of any recognized District Activity.

2. Requirements

a. All students must be enrolled and in good standing in a school that is a member or associate member in good standing of the organization sponsoring the event. Each student shall be passing all coursework for which credit is given and shall be making adequate progress toward graduation requirements at the end of the first quarter, second quarter, first semester, third quarter, fourth quarter, and second semester.

b. All students must be under twenty (20) years of age.

c. All students shall be enrolled students of the school in good standing. The student shall receive credit in at least four subjects, each of one period or hour, or the equivalent thereof. They shall receive credit in all courses for which a letter grade is given. Grades will be checked at the end of each grading period as defined in (a) above.

i. Coursework taken under the provisions of Iowa Code chapter 261C, postsecondary enrollment options, for which a school District or accredited nonpublic school grants academic credit toward high school graduation shall be used in determining eligibility.  No student shall be denied eligibility if the student’s school program deviates from the traditional two-semester school year.

ii. Dual credit courses from community colleges will count toward the four-credit class requirement, and failure of such courses will result in violation of eligibility standards.

d. A student who has had four or more successful non-failing (no “F”s) grading periods (quarters) after the grading period in which the student did not pass all coursework is eligible.

e. For block scheduling classes, the grading period may be the end of nine (9) weeks if that is when the grade is recorded on the transcript. Each block scheduled course is the equivalent of two traditional courses. Thus, at a minimum, students must receive credit in at least two block courses during any grading period.

f. If a student does not meet the Eligibility Standard, then s/he will not be allowed to represent the school for thirty (30) consecutive calendar days in all co-curricular activities and competitions as defined in paragraph (a) of this policy. S/he is ineligible to dress for and compete in the next athletic contests and competitions in which the athlete is a contestant for thirty (30) consecutive calendar days. The thirty (30) Day Rule applies to all levels of high school athletics, and not just varsity competition. The thirty (30) consecutive calendar days of ineligibility begin on the earliest date when the IGHSAU or the IHSAA allows games to begin for each sport.  If the sport is in mid-season, then the period of ineligibility begins at 3:40 P.M. the afternoon of the 3rd weekday following the end of the grading period.

g. If at the time the student has a failure, and he/she is out for a sport and the season ends before the thirty (30) days are served, the days carryover to the next sport he/she participates in.

h. Subject to the provision below regarding contestants in interscholastic baseball or softball, if at the end of any grading period a contestant is given a failing grade in any course for which credit is awarded, the contestant is ineligible to dress for and compete in the next occurring interscholastic athletic contests and competitions in which the participant is a contestant for thirty (30) consecutive calendar days. The thirty (30) calendar days begin at 3:40 the afternoon of the 3rd weekday following the end of the grading period.

i. At the end of a grading period that is the final grading period in a school year, a contestant, in interscholastic baseball or softball who receives a failing grade in any course for which credit is awarded, is ineligible to dress for and compete in interscholastic baseball or softball for the thirty (30) consecutive calendar days. The thirty (30) calendar days begin at 3:40 the afternoon of the 3rd weekday following the end of the grading period.  If the season expires prior to thirty (30) consecutive calendar days elapsing, the period of ineligibility will carry over to the beginning of the next sport in which the student participates.

j. A student with a disability who has an individualized education program shall not be denied eligibility on the basis of scholarship if the student is making adequate progress, as determined by school officials, towards the goals and objectives on the student’s individualized educational program.

k. All member schools shall provide appropriate interventions and necessary academic supports for students who fail or who are at risk to fail, and shall report to the department regarding those interventions on the comprehensive school improvement plan (CSIP).

l. An incomplete (I) will be considered a failure. At the time the incomplete (I) becomes a passing grade, eligibility will be reinstated.

m. A student is academically eligible upon entering the ninth grade.

n. No student shall be eligible to participate in any given interscholastic athletic sport if the student has engaged in that sport professionally.

o. The local superintendent/designee of schools, with the approval of the local Board of education, may give permission to a dropout student to participate in athletics upon return to school if the student is otherwise eligible under these rules.

C. After-Hours, Off-Premises Special Rules

  1. Application – The following rules cover students in grades 5-12. These after hours, off-premises special rules will be printed in the Student Handbook given to each student in grades 5-12 when school opens in the fall. A Student Handbook will also be issued to each new student who registers after the school year begins.
  2. General Rule – The Board, the administration, and other employees of the District, have no control or responsibility for any student when the student is in the custody and control of his/her parents, guardian, or other non-school related agency except as explained below.
  3. Exceptional Rules – The Board and administration have determined the following specific policies as exceptions to the immediately preceding paragraph:

a. Training and Conduct Rules – The sponsors and coaches must establish reasonable training and conduct rules for the activities for which they have been given responsibility. These rules must be approved by the principal or athletic director. They must be distributed to each participant before the activity commences. A student who registers late will receive the rules when he/she starts. Violation of any of these training and conduct rules may be just cause for eliminating a student from the activity or restricting participation.

b. Participation in Criminal or Unlawful Activity – Students who represent the District in extra-curricular activities are expected to characterize high standards of conduct.  Students who participate in any conduct which, in Iowa, is illegal, whether or not an arrest or conviction occurs, except simple misdemeanor traffic violation may be suspended from activity participation if an investigation by school officials if they determine the student has committed a violation of the rules. They may be penalized in the manner described in the following section on alcohol and controlled substances. Upon each offense of a criminal or otherwise unlawful activity, the student shall be referred to the Building Assistance Team.

c. Alcohol, Nicotine and Controlled Substances – Involvement with alcohol, nicotine and/or other illegal substances classified as controlled substances is deemed a most serious offense. The Board and administration will impose severe penalties when it has been determined a participant has been involved in the use, sale, distribution or possession of the same. Severe penalties will also be imposed on those who inhabit an environment or are in attendance where an illegal act(s) related to alcohol and/or controlled substances occur(s), including, but not limited to: (i) alcohol being possessed, distributed or consumed by people not of legal age to do so and (ii) possession, sale, distribution or consumption of illegal substances. Since rules for participation in activities carry over outside of school hours and school-sponsored events, parents and concerned agencies must cooperate with the school in eliminating alcohol, tobacco, and controlled substance use and abuse.

4. Penalties – When it has been determined that a student has violated the rules regarding (b) or (c) in sub-section (3) above, the student shall be penalized as follows:

a. Repeat offenses shall be calculated by counting backward from the date of the current violation. Two (2) calendar years shall be used in determining the number of offenses that apply.

b. First Offense: Four-week (28 calendar days) suspension from scheduled cocurricular competition or performance. This four week suspension will be shortened to two weeks (14 calendar days) if the student reports the incident to a coach, sponsor, activities/athletic director, or principal prior to any one of the above’s awareness of the incident.

c. Second Offense: Ten weeks (70 calendar days) suspension from all cocurricular competition or performance. A student suspended for a second time under this policy will be eligible to participate in cocurricular activities and competition after five weeks (35 days) if he/she reports the incident to a coach, sponsor, activities/athletic director, or principal prior to any one of the above’s awareness of it.

d. Third Offense: A minimum of 18 weeks (126 calendar days) suspension from participation in all co-curricular competition and performance.

e. The suspensions described above will commence at the time the student makes a school coach, sponsor, athletic director or principal aware of the infraction or at the time an investigation by the athletic director or the principal determines by the finding of fact that the student has violated this policy.

D. Scheduling of Events

  1. The Board and administration realizes that the amount of participation in co-curricular activities does limit the amount of time a student may spend on academic preparation and progress. Therefore, the following are considered as appropriate limitations:

a. Scheduled contests will conform at all times to the state association rulings and adhere to recommendations made by these agencies.

b. The activities and/or athletic director will be responsible for the scheduling of all high school activities and the athletic director will be responsible for scheduling athletic events at the middle school. All schedules must be approved by the middle or high school principal.