As our current athletic director, a former head coach of 22 years and parent who raised three boys who competed in numerous activities in this district, I would like to give you a little perspective on what it is like to be a “Schuyler Warrior.”

I have been is this district forever. I graduated from Schuyler High in 1984 when our population was 98 percent white and mostly comprised of farm kids. We look much different today, with nearly 80 percent Hispanic along with students from 27 other countries. I have watched our district change over these years and believe even more today that kids are kids regardless of their color, their language or their place of birth.

So why am I writing this? I probably have not told you anything you didn’t know. I am writing this so you have a little insight on what our district deals with on a regular basis.

First of all, our parents who attend games hear the comments from other fans on a regular basis.

“Yeah, we are playing a bunch of Mexicans, it should be an easy game.”

“Those kids can’t even speak English.”

“Wait until Trump sends them all home.”

Those are just some of the things our fans hear about their kids.

Our coaches have a team that in many cases does not have the experience, skill level or resources to compete with many of their opponents. Our kids do not go to summer camps, lift weights or work on skills in the offseason because their families do not have the resources to do this. Our coaches have to tell our kids to use good sportsmanship and not retaliate regardless of how they are treated.

What about our athletes? They are called racist names; they are spit on by opponents and told to go back home or wait until Trump builds the wall. They see other student bodies bring dozens of Trump signs to our games and watch their administration do nothing and say this is just freedom of speech. They see other opponents specifically target our players to intentionally take them out of the game and in some cases the officials look the other way while this happens. When a locker room has been left a mess and unflattering comments are written on the board we are the first team to be accused of this, and when it is found that it was another team that is 95 percent white our kids get no apology.

So when I see our parents, our coaches and our students walk onto a field, court or mat and compete as hard as they can with dignity, respect and great sportsmanship, it makes me very proud to be a Warrior. When I see other teams who treat our kids poorly, I know these actions are fostered by the comments these kids hear at home or from their coaches. When I see one of our Hispanic kids being treated poorly and I see my son and some of his white friends stand up for their teammates, I know we have done something right here at Schuyler.

It is hard to really give you perspective on what it is like to grow up in a district like ours. You can really only understand it if you are from Lexington, Madison, South Sioux City, Omaha South or the other handful of districts that are like us.

Our kids do not want your pity, they do not want you to take it easy on us, they do not want any apologies. All we want is for you to have a little perspective on what it is like to be a parent, coach and student in our district. Walk a mile in our shoes and you may think a little more before you act and you may think about what example you are setting for others to see.

This editorial was written by Schuyler Central High School Activities Director Jim Kasik and will be printed in the next Nebraska School Activities Association newsletter.

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