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High school leaders start discussion over Black Lives Matter movement, giving a voice to players

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Black Lives Matter
IHSA statement

(WEEK) -- Black Lives Matter has been the rallying cry for millions of people across the globe and here in Illinois. The Illinois High School Association has been listening, releasing a statement:

"It felt right within our board and staff to come out with that communication and we'll continue to build upon that and look forward to doing that in the form of a hate speech and harassment policy," said IHSA Executive Director, Craig Anderson.

Anderson says that policy could become a reality before the upcoming school year. He says the association will continue to build on their Black Lives Matter stance by giving some direction to administrators, schools, and officials.

"I think it makes sense to bring it in the forefront at a time when they're preparing for their coaches meetings, preparing for the parent meetings," continued Anderson.

Bloomington High School Athletic Director Tony Bauman says they are using the summer to talk with coaches and listen to players. Using their feedback to move forward when students and faculty return to school in the fall.

"Being in education we have some ability to help give voice to some of their ideas and to make sure that we're creating this environment where they feel safe to share their opinions and ideas, even if it may differ from the person sitting next to them," explained Bauman.

Adding he wants players to be able to express their thoughts or make a statement, such as taking a knee in solidarity,

"I think we are as a district going to be open to those ideas and to those types of things. I think we need to be," continued Bauman.

He also wants to see them doing it together as teammates.

"I think those are some really good conversations, not easy conversations, that we need to help our teaches and coaches prepare for. How are we gonna respond and how are we gonna help our students in these situations when they want to use this opportunity?," explained Bauman.

The Bloomington School District 87 released a statement saying:

IHSA officials say diversity should also include race and gender.

"I certainly would not be an IHSA administrator if it was not for Ola [Bundy] or many of the female coaches and officials that should me what I could do," said Beth Sauser, an IHSA Assistant Executive Director.

A diversity they also want to see increase in their administration and even the officials they employ.

"We definitely need to do better and we're aware of that. So as positions open up, we may take notice of a diversified group of applicants and so we welcome that and we'll look closely at opportunities to hire staff," said Anderson.

Putting complacency to the test.

"You can't just do what you've done, because you've done it. We need to really latch on to these opportunities and reflect and listen and I need to hear that perspective so that I can do better in working with the diverse populations that we have within our schools," explained Bauman.

Anderson says they are currently hiring, including their referees/game officials. To learn how to become a licensed official, you can visit their website here.

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Holden Krusemark

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