This past weekend, a high school football team in Iowa was forced to forfeit a game simply because a school administrator didn't agree with how things were handled.
The issue came up after Des Moines East High School received a threat of gun violence on a Thursday. School officials and Des Moines Police say the threats weren't credible and that there was no theat.
However, while they say the threats weren't credible, the school gave parents the option of keeping kids out of school on Friday without any penalty of them being counted absent. This begs the question, if school officials and police didn't think the threat was credible, why did school officials offer the free pass for students to stay at home on Friday.
The school was also supposed to play Ames in a high school football game on Friday night. Ames school officials caught wind of the threat of violence and balked (rightfully so) at the idea of having Ames students and spectators traveling to Des Moines and possibly putting themselves in harm's way.
Ames school officials also involved officials from the Iowa High School Athletic Association, which oversees boys' high school sports in the state of Iowa. The athletic association agreed that the game should be rescheduled for Saturday and not played on Friday night.
The issue seemed to be taken care of until a Des Moines School official stepped in with his personal opinions and decided that Des Moines East was not going to be pushed around and told what to do by Ames or the athletic association. The school official decided that game was not going to be moved and was later given the option to move the game time to Saturday or forfeit the game.
The school official (without consulting coaches and players) decided the game would be forfeited and later made the announcement to coaches and players during practice on Thursday night.
After making the decision to forfeit, the school official then cries foul and states it was unfair for Ames and the athletic association to "bully" Des Moines East into moving a game time even though the threat of violence had not been found credible by the school or Des Moines police.
This is where I take issue with the Des Moines East school officials. Bullied or not, the decision to move the game away from Friday night was the right decision to make. While they say the threat had not been substantiated, they also couldn't prove the threat was not there.
Because of this, the decision to move the game should have been honored by both sides. The administrator who made the decision to forfeit the game instead of submitting to the "bullying" of Ames and the athletic association only has himself to blame for this situation. He only has himself to blame for possibly jeopardizing his school's playoff standings and chances in the post season playoffs. He only has himself to blame for screwing the Des Moines East players out of playing their eighth game of the regular season. For him to lay blame elsewhere is unfair and a childish move.
In situations like this, safety should always be the number one priority. The Des Moines East School official decided he wanted to gamble with the safety of the lives of all coaches, players and spectators who would have been involved in this weekend's game. That is a gamble that no one should take. For him to think he could take that gamble is completely unacceptable. His blatant disregard for human life is wrong and in my opinion, anyone willing to make decisions like this is also someone who is not fit to be an administrative leader in any school district.