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Parents, students upset with Skaneateles school district’s sports medical reviews

The Skaneateles Central School District Board of Education was packed with people Tuesday night arguing against a district athletic policy for determining if middle school students can compete at the high school level.

Four middle school students were recently determined to have not reached the physical maturity requirements for junior varsity lacrosse by Dr. Gail Keenen, the district medical director and a family practitioner. Parents and students told the board the process for making those determinations was flawed, but the district said it is following state regulations and would not be reversing the decisions or changing the policy.

The state Education Department’s Athletic Placement Process outlines procedures for determining if seventh- or eighth-grade students can join a district’s high school junior varsity or varsity team. The district approved its own current athletic placement policies — which the district said complies with the state’s — in summer 2018.

Kathryn Morrissey, who was one of the students deemed not ready for JV lacrosse, said she had written a letter about her experience. She said her score on the Tanner Scale — a physical maturity assessment — had prevented her from trying out for junior varsity lacrosse.

“I had two exams given after school to evaluate my Tanner score. The first exam was focused on one thing. The only question the doctor asked me. ‘Do you have your period?’ That was it. That was all she asked about my body,” Morrissey told the board. A second exam determined her body mass index.

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