Fair Play

The playing field has been leveled for students with disabilities.

That landmark achievement came as a result of a decision by the U.S. Education Department. It is a ruling that we strongly support as it will open up countless opportunities and learning experiences for thousands of youths previously forced to the sidelines.

The education department said that disabled students must be given a fair chance to play on a traditional sports team or have their own leagues. We view that as a breath of fresh air in the athletic arena.

The change means that students with disabilities who wish to play for their respective school could join traditional teams if officials can make “reasonable modifications” to accommodate them. Should those changes not be feasible and fundamentally alter a sport or yield an advantage, the education department is calling for schools to create parallel athletic programs that have a comparable standing to traditional programs.

We believe such parameters are fair for both the athletes and schools involved.

The ruling should not result in a major financial hardship to schools. It should, however, provide a new learning experience for those previously unable to compete.

Athletics are a virtual textbook for learning life lessons. A field or court can yield as much learning as a classroom.

That underscores the importance of the education department’s ruling.

The education department receives an A-plus for scoring big by opening the window of opportunity for the disabled.