East St. Louis track season cancelled after state board upholds decision

Athletes and supporters at the East St. Louis Board meeting Monday morning (Credit: Ray Preston / News 4)

EAST ST. LOUIS (KMOV.com) – The East St. Louis track season will not be allowed to continue after the Illinois State Board upheld their decision Monday afternoon.

On Monday morning, the district's school board voted to save the season, but that decision was over ruled by the state board.

"I have reviewed your decision to terminate the East St. Louis track and field season and I uphold your decision. In making this decision, my office reviewed several videos of the brawl that took place on May 8, 2018, and clearly see several members of the East St. Louis track and field team involved in the brawl. Additionally, I reviewed several statements from staff and witnesses at the May 8, 2018, track meet as well as other witnesses who have heard threatening statements or seen threatening behavior since May 8. It is clear to me that the tensions in East St. Louis have continued to escalate and the School District needs to take swift and careful action to ensure the safety and security of student athletes, spectators, and competitors."

On May 8, a fight broke out at a track meet, after which the district decided to cancel the remainder of the season. The father of an athlete from Collinsville shared a video of what he believed showed 20 or more athletes in a fight at the Boys Southwestern Conference Championship meet.

Some family members of the athletes told News 4 they feel it is unfair to punish the entire team, including those who were not involved in the fight.

“We’ve already punished the kids that were involved, then why go behind and punish the whole track team?” said Raymond Mix, the grandfather of two East St. Louis track athletes.

Friday, students walked out of class in an effort to pressure officials to reverse the district’s decision. Monday morning, track athletes and their supporters gathered to plead their case in front of the East St. Louis School Board. While the board voted to save the season, the superintendent could appeal the decision.

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