FORT VALLEY -- School officials heard numerous concerns and questions from Peach County parents during a Thursday evening community forum about a potential plan to merge sports program at the districts two middle schools.
Weve got to do something for all the kids to be able to play sports this year, said school board vice-chairman Ben McDaniel. Were just trying to figure out whats going to be best for everybody.
Fort Valley Middle School is currently without a league to compete in after Bibb County Schools decided to limit its league to schools within the system. Fort Valley had competed in the Bibb County league for more than a decade.
Previous attempts to put the Fort Valley team in the Central Georgia Middle School Athletic League in which Byron Middle -- the districts other middle school -- currently competes were unsuccessful, said Peach County athletics director Chad Campbell, saying the only reason he was given was that the league could not take on another team.
About 100 parents and students showed up to the forum at the districts board of education building to discuss concerns, such as losing the Byron Middle School colors and mascot, as well as how dance and cheerleading teams would be affected.
I know its a dilemma and I know Im not in a position where I can please everyone, but were trying to get together and listen to everyone, their questions and concerns and come up with the best solution for everyone, said Campbell, stressing that all discussion was preliminary and no decisions had been made.
Many parents said their concern was with what would happen with those students who would not make a combined team.
Sports keeps a lot of kids out of trouble, said Brian Harrelson, adding that the time spent in a supervised sports environment would be replaced with time for kids to possibly get into drugs or other negative activities. The main reason I dont want this to happen is for those kids who arent going to make the team.
The middle school teams are a feeder system to the high school, Campbell said.
Its not recreation, he said. Its a feeder program for varsity action. And were not going to sit here and say half the kids are going to be from this side and the other half from another. The best kids will be on the team, period.
Superintendent Joe Ann Denning said the intent was not to interrupt either schools colors or mascot.
Were one county. This is not a fight issue. We have too many issues to resolve in this county to fight about this one.