Courtesy of Ballou Senior High School via Twitter
Courtesy of Ballou Senior High School via Twitter

The District’s anticipated Turkey Bowl high school championship football game will continue its Thanksgiving Day tradition, but without a few players.

Football players at H.D. Woodson will miss 18 of their teammates as result of a brawl that ensued Nov. 11 against Eastern High.

The 18 Woodson players involved in the brawl were suspended for the Thanksgiving game against Ballou, while Eastern’s seven players will miss one game next season since Eastern didn’t qualify for the playoffs.

“This is unfortunate,” D.C. Public Schools Chancellor Antwan Wilson told WRC-TV (Channel 4). “This is not something I wanted to be standing here talking about. I was really excited and I’m still excited to watch the game. At the same time, it’s important to uphold safety and student behavior.”

In a Nov. 15 letter to the H.D. Woodson community from Diana Parente, executive director of D.C.’s Interscholastic Athletic Association, said game tapes identified those involved in the fracas.

“Extracurricular activities are an important part of the high school experience and are a learning tool for all students,” Parente said. “The DCIAA wants to ensure that the players who did not engage in the physical altercation are able to play … while also holding our student athletes to the highest standard when it comes to personal conduct.”

DCPS spokeswoman Janae Hinson said the Woodson head coach and principal weren’t available for comment.

Meanwhile, Wilson implemented a “social emotional learning” program within the DCPS five-year strategic plan to promote and incorporate mental and emotional stability to learn more effectively.

According to the SEL guidelines, students and adults adhere to five core competencies: self-awareness, self-management, responsible decision-making, relationship skills and social awareness. The personal and academic goals sought include:

• Identifying emotions;
• Impulse control;
• Respect for others;
• Teamwork; and
• Ethical responsibility.

Wilson mentioned in a September schoolwide newsletter about how it works at Luke C. Moore High School in Northeast.

Students are matched with personal responsibility coaches (PRC) are teachers and other staff who serve as mentors. They meet with students twice a week to discuss an array of topics such as academic and personal challenges, discuss what courses to take and check in on students from an emotional and
social perspective.

The SEL program at Lafayette Elementary in Northwest has a “peace classroom,” which students utilize to empathize with others and solve conflicts through peaceful means.

Wilson said in a July op-ed in the Hechinger Report, an independent online publication with a focus on education, social and emotional learning are to learning in today’s society. He said the district saw a nearly 50 percent decline in suspensions.

“A school focused on social, emotional and academic development looks and feels fundamentally different from one that isn’t,” Wilson said. “There are places where every student has opportunities to speak and be acknowledged.”

Coverage for the Washington Informer includes Prince George’s County government, school system and some state of Maryland government. Received an award in 2019 from the D.C. Chapter of the Society of...

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