The Sioux Falls, South Dakota public schools may soon allow seventh and eighth graders to jump the line and compete in high school sports. This would apply in six sports in all: wrestling, tennis, golf, gymnastics, cross country and track and field.
Under the proposal, parents would have to sign a waiver testifying that their child is ready "academically, socially and emotionally." In other words, every child will be ready.
The most-cited reason in support of this change is that other high schools in the Sioux Falls area already are playing seventh graders. In fact, some kids apparently have left for private schools in pursuit of this opportunity.
"Other schools that we're competing against all do it," noted one school official.
I fail to see why a seventh-grader should be thrown into a cross-country meet with 11th graders, no matter how talented she or he may be. Neither does the local newspaper, the Sioux Falls Argus-Leader. This week, it editorialized:
"These students will be socializing with high schoolers who might be dealing with issues and conversations that they aren't ready for yet. There also are travel requirements. And there's the undeniable fact that some parents are just way too driven by competition for their kids' own good."