CLARKSBURG, W.Va. — Harrison County Schools will hold a meeting at 9 a.m. Monday to decide a course of action on extracurricular activities as the statewide work stoppage continues for teachers and service personnel.
Harrison County Superintendent Dr. Mark Manchin said he has been in contact with the West Virginia Secondary School Activities Commission (SSAC) and that a decision must be made by Monday.
“I’ve talked to them three times over the last 24 hours, and they certainly understand,” Manchin said. “We’re trying to work that out, and the games will go on. How it looks, we’ll get that worked out Monday morning, but the games will go on. We’re not going to penalize our children.”
An announcement was made Friday that the statewide work stoppage will continue into next week.
Harrison County was the only of the state’s 55 counties to not permit extracurricular activities to be played during the work stoppage, thus canceling Saturday’s Class AA Region II, Section 1 girls’ basketball title game between Bridgeport and Lincoln High Schools.
Several players and parents of two teams rallied at the Harrison County Board of Education building Friday evening, showing support for their teachers but also asking for the same fairness.
“They deserve fairness and we are with them all the way. Fairness is the same thing we are requesting,” Lincoln senior Brenna Riley said Friday. “Dr. Manchin has made a decision to force us to forfeit the rest of our season. 54 of the 55 counties in West Virginia have continued to play. I’m not sure why he has decided to discriminate against these 20 girls, who have worked hard all season, but that’s what Dr. Manchin has decided.”
While both Manchin and the girls’ team members support the teachers’ efforts, Manchin said it was a difficult spot to support both sides.
“I do not want to in any way hurt our students, but also, we need to show our support for our teachers and our service personnel. That’s the fine line we’re on,” he said. “We have the welfare of our children, but our employees are also very important, and we certainly don’t want to do anything that’s going to in any way show a lack of commitment to them.”
Riley said she was happy to hear Manchin’s decision Saturday and appreciated him listening to his students.
“It’s not just athletics. It’s plays and other extra curriculars,” Manchin said. “As this thing continues, you have to make sure that we don’t lose the support of the community.”
An official announcement regarding the date and time of the games in question will be made following the meeting Monday at 10 a.m.