'Let us play!': Students protest Dallas ISD's decision to put sports on hold

Dallas ISD student-athletes are pushing to play fall sports this upcoming season.

Dozens of students and parents gathered outside DISD headquarters Monday for a peaceful protest urging the administration to let them play.

Last week, the district announced Dallas ISD schools would start the year remotely until at least Oct. 6 and extracurricular activities would also be on hold.

Students and parents say they understand the safety issues at hand, but they believe they can move forward with fall sports safely, and they’re urging district administrators to reconsider their decision.

Dallas ISD parents and student-athletes are calling for a chance to play fall sports. Because for them, it’s about more than just winning.

“Just playing out there and being with our brothers is something that makes school that much more to look forward to,” said Cale Patton, a Woodrow Wilson High School football player. “Because you have something you do with people you trust and people you love.”

“You have kids that without sports, they don’t even have a reason to go to school,” said parent Chastity Master. “They have broken homes. They have parents that don’t care whether they go to school or not.”

Parents and students say they feel practices can be done safely with the right protocols in place.

“Some of these kids the only chance they get to go to college comes from being seen in the athletic world,” said parent Haley Alford. “And I think depriving them of even having the choice to make the decision… at least let the parents choose for their own kids.”

Dallas ISD Superintendent Dr. Michael Hinojosa announced last Thursday the district would start school online through at least Oct. 6 and put extracurriculars on hold until further notice.

For many DISD high school football teams, that could make it tough to get in all their district games if and when athletics resume.

Dr. Hinojosa said it would be disingenuous to say students can’t come to school right now but they can come to practice.

“I know he wants to keep us safe. But at the same time, this is our new norm,” Patton said. “We have to adapt to overcome that. I think the first step to that is making compromises that allow us to still do the things we love.”

“Them postponing athletics for four weeks puts us at a huge disadvantage, not only emotionally for these children but also competitively,” said parent Andrea Bloukos. “They put us in a position to either have to cancel or get pulled from the schedule or put us in a position to get hurt.”

Parents and students are urging the district to find a way to continue with fall sports and extracurriculars.

But for now, it’s up in the air when Dallas ISD athletes will be able to take the field again.

The district is hosting a tele-town hall Tuesday night with Dr. Hinojosa to talk about the district’s return to school plans and answer questions.

Next month, the board of trustees is expected to make a decision on whether online classes will continue past October.

RELATED: Dallas ISD to start school year with online-only learning until at least early October