Ask Joe: Are there exceptions to WCSD variance policy when there's a family death?

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From the Ask Joe file, we are digging into a question about a Washoe County School District policy that is forcing one student to miss out on an entire year of athletics.

Jamahl Patterson wrote in to say his son is zoned for Sparks High School but he received a variance to attend Reed. Now, because of a death of a family member he had moved in with, he's back attending Sparks High but the school district says he must sit out for six months.

Jamahl wants to know if the school district will make an exception in this case since there was a death in the family?

Here's what I found out:

Jamahl's son Tre is a sophomore at Sparks High and he's already had to sit out the football season. Now he wants to play basketball at Sparks but the school district says he's ineligible because he got that variance to go to Reed. Even though he is now back home where he is zoned for Sparks High School he can't play this year.

I checked with the school district and they referred me to their written policy on variances. It says if a student decides to return to their zoned school they must sit out 180 days ( 6 months) from all athletic participation upon their return to their zoned school.

The school district says there are no appeals or hardships related to variances so no exceptions period. Not even when there's a death in the immediate family.

So its not good news for Tre in this case but the policy is in place. The school district does not like to encourage variances because when a student gets a variance for sports it can take a spot away from a student who is already zoned for that school. And if a variance is requested, the district says they make it clear that if the student goes back to the school they are zoned for, they will still have to sit out to try to discourage students from moving back and forth between schools.

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