Students make voices heard outside district office after SCS cancels fall sports

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MEMPHIS, Tenn. — Dozens of Shelby County students walked away from their books Wednesday morning because they say they want to do something that is just as important to their future — playing football.  

Some high school football players got emotional outside the Shelby County Schools building, because it looks like they won’t be playing this fall. Superintendent Joris Ray announced Tuesday that fall sports are cancelled at SCS schools until further notice.

“I want this season more than anything man,” Kaleb Almo said. “Man it’s in my heart, bro. I want it for everybody out here.”

They say they need to play sports to keep them focused and out of trouble, and they need to be seen by local and national scouts to get scholarships.

“It’s a vehicle to get us out of the city, out of the hood we are in,” said Marcus Taylor.

The students and their parents had hoped to talk to Superintendent Joris Ray, but he never came outside. Instead, a representative from the school district addressed the crowd, but didn’t take questions.

One student said it didn’t make sense why some students in private schools were allowed to play sports, but public school students are not.

Ray, on Twitter, said juniors and seniors would have the chance to participate in activities to showcase their talents to the right people.

But some students said it’s not enough.

“Because a lot of schools want to see you in action on the field, see what you are made of on the field,” Aaron Alexander said.

Parents say they are willing to sign a waiver to let their kids play.

Ray also did not respond to WREG’s request for an interview. In a video message Tuesday he said there would be no sports as long as the district is doing virtual learning.

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