Hate speech protocol added by Upstate Eight
The Upstate Eight Conference has added hate speech protocol for athletic events beginning in the 2020-21 school year.
The UEC Board of Control at its Wednesday meeting unanimously passed a resolution to add hate speech protocol to the conference bylaws.
According to the UEC, the protocol details a course of action in the event hate speech is used during a conference athletic event, defines hate speech, identifies steps to address its use during an athletic contest and details both immediate and long-term disciplinary and restorative consequences.
The league said the protocol is intended to work in tandem with each school's student handbook and extracurricular code of conduct and is nearly identical to those already in use by the Central Suburban Conference and the North Suburban Conference.
The measure was initially proposed by Larkin Athletic Director Ethan Karolczak and Larkin Principal Jamie Crosen.
"It was a professional and moral obligation for us," Crosen said. "We as the Board of Control have been working on this for some time, but as a result of the murder of George Floyd we believed we had no choice but to approve this measure to ensure that we are consistently discussing issues of race, cultural awareness and respect for one's competitors with our students."
The UEC defines hate speech as "any speech, gesture or conduct, writing or display which is forbidden because it may incite violence or prejudicial action against or by a protected individual or group, or because it disparages or intimidates a protected individual or group."
"It was a long time coming and an involved process, but I am glad we got it done," Karolczak said. "High school athletics provide an invaluable platform for teaching our students how to be better citizens and humans. Now more than ever, that is a vital part of our mission as educators. This protocol will help ensure that we do not dodge having difficult conversations with our students about race. It will facilitate teachable moments and promote mutual respect and understanding."
The UEC Board of Control is made up of principals from member schools Elgin, Larkin, Streamwood, South Elgin, Bartlett, Fenton, East Aurora, West Chicago, Glenbard South and Glenbard East.
West Chicago Principal Dr. Will Dwyer is the board's sitting president.
"This is a great decision for our conference and a great starting point for us to start a collaborative learning journey with all or our collective communities," Dr. Dwyer said.