CHARLOTTE, N.C. -- Lynne Sanders had been concerned about a proposal to cut middle school sports from the Charlotte-Mecklenburg School budget for some time, but when her 7th grader weighed in last week, Sanders felt like she had to tell some one.
She wrote the email below to her representative, school board member Rhonda Lennon:
My daughter, Megan, is a 7th grader at Francis Bradley Middle School and currently plays on the Girls' basketball team. Megan made making the Bradley team her goal in the 5th grade and she never wavered. She knew she needed to keep her grades up to play sports and that was all the incentive she needed. She made the A-B Honor Roll this semester...while playing basketball. And the Bradley Basketball and Cheerleading teams have a combined GPA of greater than 3.0. When Megan hung her report card on the refrigerator last night, she noted that next year she probably would get all C's because there wouldn't be any basketball. That saddened me....How many other kids are thinking the same way? Please reconsider the middle school sports option.
Lennon, who says she gets hundreds of emails each week, responded briefly:
Find me $1.2M and I will be happy to, but I cannot cut teacher positions to pay for MS sports.Its sad that your daughter isn't self motivated enough to want better than C's on her own and not because of sports.
I was angry. I'm going to be honest with you. I was very angry. I thought it was personal and, while I'd given a personal account, I didn't expect a personal attack and that's what I felt, Sanders told NewsChannel 36 Thursday. She forwarded the email, and her lengthy response, to many other parents and community leaders.
Lennon tell us she's gotten some heat, but she's spoken to others who agree with her message and she stands by what she said. Probably the only thing I would have said differently would be that I do think that children need to find something other than sports to motivate them. We're here for academic success. That's our job, she said.
Lennon did call Sanders to apologize for her tone. In an email, she also reminded her that she personally worked to help preserve middle school sports this year, and is working on a proposal for next year as well.
We cannot cut teachers to pay for sports, so I'm trying to find others options, she said.
Sanders says in her mind, sports are part of a package. I certainly think that people ought to do good for the sake of doing good. I don't think adults do that, she said. Any activity that is positive that reinforces doing well in school, I think that it's something we need to embrace.