IHSA Adds Policy to Protect Students Against Hate Speech & Harassment
Written by Anthony Ferretti on September 1, 2020
Photo courtesy: IHSA Facebook
BLOOMINGTON, Ill. – The Illinois High School Association (IHSA) implemented a new policy to address hate speech and harassment on Monday.
Under the IHSA Hate Speech and Harassment Policy, it reinforces that they don’t allow such actions while providing an outline to address and educate everyone involved should such an incident occur during an IHSA event.
“This is an important topic to our Board of Directors, our staff, and our member schools,” said IHSA Executive Director Craig Anderson. “It feels especially topical given some of the recent events in our country. Hate speech is learned, it is not engrained. We feel like by addressing it at its core and providing education, we can help enlighten our coaches and athletes to be better citizens.”
The Policy defines hate speech or harassment as verbal, non-verbal, or physical acts aimed at a person’s sex, gender identification, race, religion, creed, age, national origin, ancestry, pregnancy, marital or parental status, sexual orientation, or disability.
If hate speech is heard by or reported to game officials, the officials will stop play and alert the head coaches of both teams. They will discuss the incident with the players and coaches to see if the action can be verified. If so, that person will be ejected from the contest and can’t compete in the following contest. If not, warnings will be issued. The same goes for fan behavior.
The IHSA Hate Speech and Harassment Policy will be in effect for all postseason IHSA State Series contests and events. Regular-season incidents of this nature to be covered by that sports’ rulebook, or by a local conference or school policy.