Thackston board votes against lowering athlete GPA requirements

David Weissman
York Dispatch
Jyaire Beverlry, 17,  shoots from half court in a three-point shoot off during the Patriot Pride rally at Helen Thackston Charter School, Friday, Feb. 24, 2017.  John A. Pavoncello photo

Helen Thackston Charter School's board of trustees took a stand during its final meeting of the summer by refusing to lower its GPA eligibility requirements for athletes.

The Pennsylvania Interscholastic Athletic Association requires students to maintain a 2.0 GPA to participate in its leagues, but Thackston, which joined PIAA last year, requires its students to maintain a 2.5 GPA to participate.

New CEO Carlos Lopez suggested the board vote to authorize administrators to lower the requirement to 2.0, which is aligned with the requirements for William Penn Senior High School, where some of Thackston's athletes participate.

The proposal, brought up for vote during the board's Thursday, Aug. 24, meeting, was immediately met with disapproval by board members Nacole Gaines and Lisa Kennedy.

Kennedy, who is a candidate for the York City School Board, said she is "tired of coddling these kids."

"I'm tired of looking at black and brown children underperforming, and we keep giving them excuse after excuse," she said. "Why can't they just do what needs to be done?"

Thackston is facing revocation for, among numerous reasons, failing to meet necessary student performance improvement metrics.

"If you give (the students) crutches, they'll take them every time, and we keep giving them crutches," Kennedy said.

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Gaines pointed to a picture of the school's 2016 boys' basketball team leaning against a nearby window as proof that their student athletes were capable of achieving a 2.5 GPA.

"They all did it," she said.

Gaines and Kennedy were joined by fellow board member Marcia Glover and board president Danyiell Newman in voting against the resolution to lower the GPA requirement, while board member Robert Safran abstained, wanting to know more information about how many students would be affected by the change.

Board vice president Frank Hawkins and member Kayla Sanchez were absent from Thursday's meeting, which was held at the same time as Thackston's open house.

The school begins classes on Monday, Aug. 28.

— Reach David Weissman at or on Twitter at @DispatchDavid.