Is MCPS taking protection over their fields too far?


Photo Courtesy of MCPS

Fields such as the one pictured below at Richard Montgomery, are not accessible to students and must be open to everyone.

By Michael Demske, Sports Editor

OpiEvery athlete’s worst nightmare is having no place to practice their sport, or be able to play sports with their friends. It is becoming harder and harder for teenagers to access the athletic fields of MCPS High Schools, which is a problem more serious than most would think.

MCPS does not permit its students to access athletic fields, with the exception of scholastic sporting events. This includes during the day, after school, on weekends and during holiday breaks. While this is more of an inconvenience than a serious issue, it is frustrating for teens who want to stay active.

MCPS is a strong proponent of student wellness and all which it entails. Many students turn to athletics to ease stress and take their minds off things that bother them. Football and soccer are two of the most popular sports among MCPS students and also require a field to play on. Unfortunately, fields are in use during the daylight hours and the gates are locked when it becomes dark.

MCPS go as far as to lock up equipment such as goals and nets to prevent students from using them. At WCHS, the field hockey goals have been chained to the fence in order to prevent students from playing soccer at lunch. Harmless activities like soccer at lunch do not warrant punishment and riddance with the student’s favorite activities during the day.

MCPS also prides itself on having world-class facilities for its student-athletes but neglects the rest of the students who should also be able to enjoy the same fields. Providing access to school fields for all students promotes inclusivity and equal opportunities for physical activity and skill development. It ensures that all students, regardless of their abilities or backgrounds, have the same access to school resources and opportunities. It also provides a safe and supervised environment for students to engage in sports during their free time.

As of today, MCPS requires fields to be booked using an online portal. While it may seem convenient, the portal does not allow for bookings to be done and is very expensive for the fields that can be booked. This is not a viable option for a pickup football game, but rather only for club sports teams. It is clear who MCPS is catering the reservations to, and it is not their students.

Sure there may be safety concerns and students using the field for the wrong reasons. For the most part though, students want to be able to have a field at their disposal when they need it the most.

In the meantime, students should take advantage of the limited access to MCPS fields that they can. Also, students can bring the issue up to athletic directors, administration and county officials.

Athletes of all skill levels should continue to fight for the access to MCPS fields that they deserve. Everyone is entitled to the same facilities and should be able to use them as such.