By Keith McShea
Below are comments e-mailed to me today by Westfield superintendent David Davison.
The Westfield Board of Education Monday night, on the recommendation of the superintendent, approved the cancellation of the football season following the death of junior football player Damon Janes a week ago Monday.
"The recommendation to cancel the decision came after consideration of the deep grief our communities have experienced and the impact of Damon’s passing on this team.
"My recommendation to the board was based on discussions with our players, coaches and administration from both schools. The players and coaches have shown such strength and courage during this time and are grieving the loss a friend and teammate. The decision to not field a varsity football team for the remainder of the season will allow this team to remain together and heal in private—away from the bright lights and public eye.
"These young men are to be commended for their strength and determination in honoring Damon in our school communities and our future athletic programs.
"The District had canceled or postponed all athletic events and programs the week of September 16 and that extended to Monday’s junior varsity game. A team meeting was held on Monday where I talked to the players about the upcoming season. I wanted the team to know of my recommendation first."
I asked if there were any players/parents/families who disagreed with the decision, one that people have disagreed with via online commenting, social media and the like:
"I know the decision to not play the remaining varsity games in the season will be debated in circles in and beyond the boundaries of the Brocton and Westfield School Districts. I believe we had a hard choice, but made the right decision. I have spoken with parents, players and coaches over the last 13 days and all of those conversations were taken into consideration when making this recommendation. I would hope that adults would not place my decisions on the shoulders of young men who are already hurting. When our players step on the field again we want it to be when they are ready and on their terms."
Westfield/Brocton fields a combined program, but the "lead" school as far as the administering of the program is Westfield, thus it was its superintendent and board which made the decision.