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Union, Dist. 211 board make postseason demands
By Ashok Selvam | Daily Herald Staff
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Published: 10/31/2007 12:11 AM

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With postseason dreams of athletes in Schaumburg-Palatine High School District 211 still hanging in the balance, the teachers union and administrators lined up Tuesday to throw barbs.

In the event of a teacher strike, district officials said Monday they'd allow athletes in IHSA postseason tournaments to play, reversing an earlier decision.

The caveat is that in order to oversee a practice or game, coaches must show up for the regular work if they also want to fulfill their coaching duties, the district says.

Union President John Braglia scoffed at that. He said union members who are coaches will still coach -- but won't cross the picket lines to report for teaching duty.

"They will not be teaching a full day if there is a strike," he said. "Our coaches will report and work the strike-line in the event we go out."

How this might resolve itself if a strike is called -- and how the district will enforce its stance -- is unclear.

Braglia asserted that the district will "try anything," ranging from sending athletes home on buses to getting the police involved.

"That's the way this board works," he said.

Superintendent Roger Thornton said it will be up to each school's principal and athletic director to enforce the policy. But he said police wouldn't be called in to assist.

Braglia said Thornton and the school board would be to blame for any canceled games.

Thornton volleyed, saying the union was to blame. He compared the situation to a student who fails to attend class but wants to participate in an after-school activity.

"There is no way people should be able to go on strike all day and then come in and coach," Thornton said.

School board President Robert LeFevre was a member of the 1984 Fremd High School soccer state championship team. He said he feels for student-athletes because those games are once-in-lifetime opportunities that can't be rescheduled.

He supports the district's policy of requiring a team's full coaching staff present, citing safety reasons. He also agrees with Thornton that the coaches should be required to work a full day.

Coaching is but one piece of their job responsibilities, LeFevre noted.

Several District 211 fall sports team remain in contention for state titles, including the Fremd and Palatine varsity football teams.