NHS appeal to redistrict is denied

Published 12:00 am Wednesday, December 13, 2000

An appeal to move Natchez High School to a new district to limit the long distances travelled by the football team was denied Wednesday by the Mississippi High School Activities Association, according to Natchez-Adams Superintendent Dr. Carl Davis.

&uot;Our argument was that our current situation causes an undue financial hardship on the district and a personal hardship on our students,&uot; Davis said. &uot;We went up there and did all we could.&uot;

Davis, Director of Student Activities Dr. Wayne Barnett, NHS principal Brenda Williams and ninth-grade principal Bobby Brown presented the district’s case before an appeals board in Clinton today. Officials from Meridian and Hancock, two schools that also face several long road trips a year, also made and were denied appeals Wednesday.

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&uot;I think it is most unfortunate,&uot; Williams said. &uot;Our appeal was based on the best interests of the students.&uot;

To travel to Meridian – a 400-mile trip – students leave school around 10 a.m., Davis said, missing several hours of class time. On the same note, students don’t return home until 3 a.m., a problem for students with weekend jobs and a problem for parents who wish to attend games.

Long trips are also a significant financial burden on the district, Davis said. To take the football team and band to Meridian would cost at least $4,000, he said, not including food or a chartered bus. Such figures typically prevent the 200-member band from attending distant road games, he added.

&uot;Those are astronomical numbers when talking about educational capital,&uot; Williams said.

Five teams in Natchez’s Region III are at least 300 miles away – Meridian, Hancock, Wayne County, Oak Grove and Petal.

By comparison, the schools centered around the Gulf Coast in Region IV never travel over 60 miles to play in their region, Davis said.

&uot;They say, ‘Oh well you’re way down there in Natchez.’ We know we’re from Natchez. We’re proud we’re from Natchez,&uot; Davis said. &uot;We’re just asking for a little help.&uot;

Davis said the district also asked the board to consider changing the football team’s district opponents to match the basketball team’s, so at least better rivalries could exist between the schools. This request was also denied, he said.

&uot;I think the board didn’t want to make a decision that would upset the groups that are already happy,&uot; Davis said. &uot;Meanwhile, our students are disrespected for another two years.&uot;