Parents are more than just spectators

Guest Opinion By Elsie Arntzen
Sunday, September 6, 2020
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I have actively listened to parents from around the state as school sports are kicking off. I have heard that some parents are being banned from their children’s school-sponsored activities along with other spectators. As a mother, grandmother, and educator, I know that parents are more than just spectators.

The goal of parents, educators, and health officials is to reopen schools and schoolsponsored activities as safely as possible. That is why the Montana High School Association and I wrote letters last month encouraging the Association of Montana Public Health Officers to allow parents or legal guardians to be able to attend their children’s extracurricular activities. Parent engagement in all aspects of their students’ educational and extracurricular activities is necessary, especially if a minor child becomes injured in a sporting event.

The Montana Chapter of the American Academy of Pediatrics also came out with school sports guidance. It recognizes the importance of athletics and extracurricular activities to youth development as well as the inherent risks of injury.

Whether it’s sports, band, or theater, school-sponsored activities are essential to the development, mental health, and social-emotional support of our students. It’s just plain Montana common sense that parents should be involved in their children’s school-related activities. They are invested in their children’s safety and the protocols necessary to maintain these activities. Let’s trust our parents. Parents are more than just spectators.

Elsie Arntzen is Montana’s Superintendent of Public Instruction.