Oct 16: ASD responds to ASAA’s decision not to decertify swimming official
ASD responds to ASAA’s decision not to decertify swimming official
The Anchorage School District is disappointed with the Alaska School Activities Association’s recent decision to not decertify the official who disqualified the Dimond High School swimmer on September 6. The decision clearly does not reflect ASAA’s mission of “advocating equitable participation and fostering healthy competition for ALL Alaska students.”
“The underlying message from this decision is that even when wearing a team-issued uniform, female athletes still need to worry about what they are wearing or risk being disqualified. Young women should never have to worry about their body image when they are competing in sports. They should only have to focus on their skills and competing in the pool, on the field, or the court. This decision is truly unfortunate and appears to ignore ASAA’s mission of advocating for student athletes,” said Dr. Deena Bishop, Superintendent, Anchorage School District.
ASD’s investigation revealed that the official in question did not fairly and impartially arbitrate the current NFHS swimsuit rules, thus leading to our request to ASAA that she be decertified.
In an effort to ensure equitable competition at our swim meets, the District will take whatever measures necessary to ensure the official in question does not participate in any more ASD-sponsored swimming events under the current rules.
The District will continue to work with the governing bodies that oversee the rules of competitive swimming (ASAA, National Federation of High Schools, and USA Swimming) to revise or eliminate the current swimming and diving suit coverage rules. A recent memo titled “Swimsuit Rules Clarification” released on October 1, 2019 by USA Swimming is a reasonable and common sense starting point in the important conversation about revising these rules to best protect our athletes.
ASD’s objective throughout this process has been to ensure a fair and healthy competitive environment for its swimmers, free of discrimination. We recognize that this will take a community effort from everyone involved, and we remain committed to working together with all stakeholders until the Alaska swimming community arrives at an acceptable solution for its young swimmers.
“I am looking forward to continued advocacy in changing the swimsuit coverage rule so we do not have another instance of a female athlete being disqualified because of how she appears in her swimsuit,” said Bishop.