Representative Erickson's bill shines light on the problem of punks in S.C. schools

In her first three months in the House, Representative Shannon Erickson is making things happen:

A measure that will give high school students who have been bullied more freedom to transfer and play sports moved closer to becoming law Wednesday.

The House Education Committee passed a proposal by Rep. Shannon Erickson, R-Beaufort, that allows students in such situations to become eligible immediately for athletics at their new schools. The measure moves to the full House for debate.

Erickson submitted the bill in February in response to a case involving Lauren Gentry, a star softball player at Battery Creek High who transferred to Beaufort High to escape harassment from an ex-boyfriend.

The S.C. High School League’s executive committee has twice denied her eligibility to play softball, citing a rule that students who change from one public school to another without a change in address cannot play sports for one year.

The committee ruled in March that Gentry’s case didn’t meet its hardship exemption, and Gentry missed her senior season of softball after being Battery Creek’s most valuable player in 2007.

“Our process, in this instance, failed Lauren Gentry,” Erickson said Wednesday.

If this bill passes, one can expect two-thirds of the students in inner city schools to apply for transfers.

Seriously, while we agree with this bill's premise and endorse its passage wholeheartedly, we're smart enough to see the real problem is one which this law can't address - the inability of our school administrators and boards to purge our schools of the troublemakers.

Common sense tells us that if the violence is such a problem that the courts get involved, the punks responsible should be out of school - permanently. Hopefully, making this a reality will be the next step.

Passing Erickson's bill is the right thing to do, but so is taking action to purge our schools of bullies, gangs, and thugs. We can only hope legislators will also see the greater problem and act to address it as quickly as they have moved Erickon's bill forward.

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