Benson HS students march to keep athletic program from being cut - KPTV - FOX 12

Benson HS students march to keep athletic program from being cut

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Close to 100 Benson High School students, alumni, and teachers marched a little more than a mile from the school to the Portland Public School’s headquarters Tuesday evening, demanding the district not cut their sports program. 

“It’s important to be here so the district knows that we mean business and we’re here to fight for our students,” said march organizer John Slaughter. 

Once at the school district building, the group made noise from the outside before finally walking inside. 

It’s there, where students spoke one-by-one to make their message clear to the school board. 

“Just cutting out sports is taking away my high school experience,” said student Sky Maresh. “It’s not really fair.” 

According to Portland Public Schools, this all started when the district recently met to take a look at Benson’s athletic program. 

A district spokesperson said since Benson is a specialty magnet school, students travel from all over to attend. The spokesperson said that means the pool of athletes is much smaller and has less community support than a typical neighborhood school. 

“I think it’s important at every school, because sports positively impact children’s education, social life, teaching them rules and work ethic,” said physical education and health teacher Michelle Cvitanich. 

The district said right now there is no plan to cut any sports teams at the school, but the program is being evaluated. 

The spokesperson added that in the coming months, the public will have an opportunity to give input and that their input is important to the district. Board members second that Tuesday evening, encouraging students to keep coming back to share their opinions. 

People marching said they plan to do it for every board meeting until a decision is made in their favor. 

“Doing sports is a way to improve myself as a person,” said student Julian Scherer.

“If it went away I’d be really upset because it’s not just something that I do for fun, it’s my passion,” said Maresh. “It’s something that make me a more well-rounded person.” 

In 2014, students said sports teams were also in jeopardy, but the district ultimately chose to keep the program. 

The district said it’s no where close to a making a decision. 

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