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Illinois School Nixes Basketball Team's Trip to Arizona Over Immigration Law

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Fox: An Illinois high school says it's denying its girls' basketball team the opportunity to play in an Arizona basketball tournament over the Grand Canyon State's new immigration law.

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Parents in Illinois are outraged over a move by a local high school to scrap its girls basketball team's trip to Arizona over the Grand Canyon State's new immigration law.

The Highland Park High School varsity basketball team has been selling cookies for months to raise money for a tournament in Arizona..

Now, after winning their first conference title in 26 years, the girls are being denied the opportunity to play in the tournament over safety concerns and because the trip "would not be aligned" with the school's "beliefs and values," Assistant Superintendent Suzan Hebson told the Chicago Tribune.

Hebson said Arizona is off-limits, at least until it's more clear how the state's new law, which makes it a crime to be in the country illegally, will be enforced.

"We would want to ensure that all of our students had the opportunity to be included and be safe and be able to enjoy the experience," Hebson told the Tribune about the tournament. "We wouldn't necessarily be able to guarantee that."

Parents said there was no vote or consultation regarding the decision, which they called confusing, especially since they say no players on the team are illegal immigrants.

"I'm not sure whose values and what values and what beliefs they're talking about, we were just going to Arizona to play basketball and our daughters were very disappointed to find out the trip had been canceled," Michael Evans, a father of one of the players told Fox News.

Evans said if for some reason a player was worried about her safety, she could always opt to stay home from the December tournament without forcing the entire team to do the same.

"This tournament was voluntary, so students could decide not to go if they thought they were at some sort of risk of some sort of harm to themselves, but to penalize all the other girls because of some potential risk? I don't understand it," he said.

Evans said he also failed to understand why the school allowed so many other trips, but not this one.

"The school has sent children to China, they've sent children to South America, they've sent children to the Czech Republic, but somehow Arizona is more unsafe for them than those places," he said.

"The beliefs and values of China are apparently aligned, since they approved that trip," he added.

One player, who said she is against the Arizona law, told Fox News she didn't see how the tournament was related.

"It's ultimately the state's decision, no matter what I think. Not playing basketball in Arizona is not going to change anything," she told Fox News.

The district said in a statement Wednesday that is legally required to provide an education to all children within its borders regardless of immigration status and is responsible for their "safety, security and liberty" when they travel.

"The selection of a varsity basketball team for the 2010-2011 winter athletic season will take place in November, 2010. The team has yet to be selected," the statement read. "We cannot commit at this time to playing at a venue where some of our students' safety or liberty might be placed at risk because of state immigration law."

Read more stories in the news.


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7 comments so far | Post a comment now
chris May 13, 2010, 6:29 AM

I would be outraged also. Those kids worked really hard to raise money to support this trip. Schools have no business taking this stand! Schools should completely say out of politics. First we had the students who got in trouble for wearing t-shits with the American flag on it, then we have the student who was told her artwork of the American flag was “offensive”. If I wasn’t sure how I felt about this new law, I now know that I completely support it. This is AMERICA and I am proud to be an american and american should have the right to defend our support of our country. To say that the school trip doesn’t “align with the school belief and values” is crazy. We don’t send our kids to school to learn their belief and value system, we send our kids to school to learn facts. And if the school belief and value systems support people who break the law then I am very disappointed in our school system. Remember, it is our federal taxes that support our schools and illegal immigrants do NOT pay federal taxes! Now, I’m just pissed off!!!

Anonymous May 13, 2010, 9:56 AM

I think its outragous that the Assistant Superintendent is pushing her beliefs on the entire school; if she doesn’t agree with AZ’s law that’s fine but don’t punish the entire basketball team over it. How completely unprofessional of her.

michelle May 13, 2010, 12:20 PM

Of course the AZ law is horrible on many levels, but the school definitely sent the wrong message to those kids by just canceling the trip and citing bogus safety concerns. They should have put it to a vote and also allowed kids to opt out of the trip if they wanted to. Letting high school students make their own decision (as long as it is an informed decision), not forcing a decision on them — these are the values a school should have.

michelle May 13, 2010, 12:21 PM

Of course the AZ law is horrible on many levels, but the school definitely sent the wrong message to those kids by just canceling the trip and citing bogus safety concerns. They should have put it to a vote and also allowed kids to opt out of the trip if they wanted to. Letting high school students make their own decision (as long as it is an informed decision), not forcing a decision on them — these are the values a school should have.

michelle May 13, 2010, 12:23 PM

Of course the AZ law is horrible on many levels, but the school definitely sent the wrong message to those kids by just canceling the trip and citing bogus safety concerns. They should have put it to a vote and also allowed kids to opt out of the trip if they wanted to. Letting high school students make their own decision (as long as it is an informed decision), not forcing a decision on them — these are the values a school should have.

michelle May 13, 2010, 12:26 PM

Of course the AZ law is horrible on many levels, but the school definitely sent the wrong message to those kids by just canceling the trip and citing bogus safety concerns. They should have put it to a vote and also allowed kids to opt out of the trip if they wanted to. Letting high school students make their own decision (as long as it is an informed decision), not forcing a decision on them — these are the values a school should have.

Gern June 12, 2010, 3:17 PM

The AZ law mirrors the federal law, with the exception that the AZ law specifically states that it shall not be driven by race or ethnicity. Does that mean the school doesn’t agree with the United States?


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