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Voice: Calexico school board decision a bad one

January 27, 2002

From the decision to the way the closed session meetings were conducted to the way our girls have been treated, it is all wrong.

The whole issue behind the stories that have appeared in the paper these past weeks involves five young ladies, all juniors who have been playing basketball together for a few years and had dreams of one day playing varsity basketball together for Calexico High School, to bring pride to their school.

Not only did they want to play, but they had hopes of going farther than any other Valley girls' basketball team had ever gone. These hopes and dreams were shattered when the school board made its decision. That decision has ruined the season for these girls.

The newspaper constantly states that the coach was having "closed" tryouts and practices to prevent any interferences or confrontations and for the safety of the girls. Interference and confrontations by whom? Safety?


Don't you think that we as parents would be the first to be concerned about our daughters' safety? How many interferences or confrontations has she had in the past that she deems it necessary to lock the gates the way she did?

Why were our girls instructed by this coach that if we, as parents, needed to pull our girls out of practice, for any given reason, that we needed to contact her by cellular phone first so she could remove the chain from the gate to let them out.

What is this, a prison? We want to make something very clear to anyone that reads this article. When it is reported that this coach states she had closed tryouts and practices, it wasn't just a closed gate that you could push open in case of an emergency; it was the main entry to the gym that was chained up with lock and key.

For Mr. Ayala, the board spokesman for the sports article on January 20, to say that, "We as a board don't feel that she violated any law" is just ridiculous. Let us spell it out for you, Mr. Ayala.

This coach, the administrator that gave her the permission to lock the gates and the school officials that insist on saying there were no laws violated need to pay close attention to this. The law clearly states as follows:

Uniform Fire Code:

Section 1207

1207.1 Exit doors shall be maintained in an operable condition.

1207.2 Exit doors shall be operable from the inside without the use of a key or any special knowledge or effort. Exit Doors SHALL NOT be locked, chained, bolted, barred, latched, or otherwise rendered unusable.

Life Safety Code 101: Doors shall be arranged to be opened readily from the egress side whenever the building is occupied. Locks, if provided, SHALL NOT require the use of a key, a tool, or special knowledge or effort for the operation from the egress side.

Uniform Building Code:

1003.1.8 Type of Lock or Latch:

Regardless of the occupant load served, exit doors shall be openable from the inside without the use of any key or any special knowledge or effort.

We suggest that you also understand the circumstances under which the girls have left the team. First and foremost the girls are not quitting. Our girls are NOT quitters. We, as parents, have pulled them off the team until justice has truly been served, and these school officials make the correct decision.

We strongly recommend to anyone that wants to know the truth about what is happening, that you get the story from all of those that it has affected, and draw your conclusions after considering both sides of the story, not just one side, as so many have all ready done. Remember there is always two sides to every story and we the parents and players that have been treated unjustly will be more than willing to share it with you.

Enrique & Grace Cervantes, Christina Cervantes, Luis & Ana Castro, Yvonne Castro, Hector & Julia Escobar, Lupe Escobar (The parents and players that are allegedly causing all these problems for the Calexico High School girls basketball team)

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