The new guidance makes clear that schools should work together to ensure that, if there is sufficient interest among disabled students in a district, these students are provided opportunities to participate in alternative sports, such as wheelchair tennis or, yes, wheelchair basketball. Contrary to the hysterics, the guidelines are not rigid requirements mandating alternative teams. And in states such as Maryland and Minnesota that have specific rules and laws already in place to ensure equitable access, the policy is not causing serious problems. In Maryland, in addition to increasing access to high school sports, districts have created several “corollary” teams in which disabled students can play alongside non-disabled peers in sports like bocce, handball, and softball.
More fundamentally, given the relatively small scale of what we’re talking about here, parents and others worried about the dilution of dollars for school athletics should simply pause and ask themselves: what if the children we’re talking about were yours?