Bennett High School football player deemed eligible as BPS files human rights complaint

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The district alleges discriminatory and disparate treatment of students of color by Section VI.

BUFFALO, NY – On Thursday morning, Division VI informed Buffalo Public Schools that the Bennett High School football player who was ruled ineligible last week will now be eligible to play for the remainder of the regular season and the playoffs. .

The athlete was deemed ineligible after competing for Sweet Home’s junior varsity team as an eighth grader, but did not file a state transfer notification until this season.

Even with this reversal, the school district is still not satisfied and is now going further to get the justice it thinks it deserves.

“It’s like putting someone in jail for 10 years for going over the five-mile-per-hour speed limit,” said BPS General Counsel Nathanial Kuzma.

The school board sees this as an ongoing systemic issue that it feels has been a target for some time.

“Ordering them to forfeit the first six games of the season was the straw that broke the camel’s back,” Kuzma said.

The school board is now tackling this issue head-on, as last night it unanimously approved the district’s filing of a human rights complaint against Section VI, pointing out its alleged discrimination. history towards student-athletes of color in the BPS.

“We don’t have a seat at the table, and that’s intentional,” Kuzma said. “Their leaders and their boards are hand-picked year after year, and they tend to be white males. And they tend to be suburban and/or rural districts.

The district is also filing a formal appeal to overturn the decision on the six forfeits for the defending state finalists. It’s a decision BPS Assistant Superintendent for Athletics Mike House would make sure the kids don’t have to pay for the administration’s clerical error.

“They worked hard,” House said. “They earned those stats on the pitch. They made those games, and that team won the game. So to me, it doesn’t make sense for children to be penalized for an adult’s mistake. I think the responsibility should lie with the adult here, in this case myself and our district.

Section VI released this statement today saying they would not comment publicly on this matter at this time.

As for Bennett, the Tigers enter the field for their final regular season game this Saturday and are still expected to make the playoffs with current projections having them as the No. 3 seed.

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