BAR HARBOR — New, stricter eligibility requirements for Mount Desert Island High School students participating in athletics and other extracurricular activities have been adopted by the MDI Regional School System board.
The revised extracurricular policy increases from 2.5 to 3 the minimum number of credits a student must be taking and passing to be eligible.
Also, the policy now states: “Completing homework and classwork on time is essential to ensure a healthy and productive learning environment. Students will be required to complete assignments on time…at a 75 percent completion rate in order to maintain eligibility to participate in extracurricular activities.”
Any student who has an incomplete in a course “will be removed from the team/activity until the incomplete[s] have been made up and is passing,” the revised policy states.
Principal Matt Haney said the policy revisions, which have been in the works for some time, have already made a difference.
“We made the changes to the eligibility policy in response to a trend over the past several years that was showing that a number of students were having an increasingly hard time handing work in on time,” he said. “Somehow, for some students, that had become less of a priority, to both their detriment and that of the teachers.”
“Tying extracurricular eligibility to work habits made sense…By all accounts, it’s worked,” Haney said. “Teachers are reporting a much higher percentage of quality, complete, on-time work this year.”
The school board at its Oct. 15 meeting also approved a number of revisions to the high school’s extracurricular substance abuse policy and to the extracurricular tobacco policy. The latter now states that the use of “vaping and e-cigarette products are considered to be tobacco-related violations” that can result in penalties for students taking part in extracurricular activities.
Those penalties range from zero to 10 hours of community service for a self-reported first offense to “removal from activities for [the] remainder of [the] high school career [with] no appeal possible” for the fifth offense.