WASHINGTON (AP/WMOT) — The Tennessee Secondary Schools Athletic Association says the state’s school systems will feel little impact from new federal guidelines requiring equal access for students with disabilities.
The Education Department announced Friday that students with disabilities must be given a chance to play on a traditional sports team or have their own leagues.
The order is reminiscent of the Title IX expansion four decades ago of athletic opportunities for girls and women and could bring sweeping changes to school budgets and locker rooms for years to come.
But the TSSAA’s Matthew Gillespie says Tennessee schools have already made most of the required changes.
“I think a lot of red flags went up, and rightfully so, when this directive came out from the Department of Education, but I think when people look back at many situations across the state our schools are already giving students those opportunities.”
If schools can’t accommodate athletes with disabilities they’ll have to create parallel programs that have comparable standing to mainstream programs.