Association mandates online training course for schools and officials in a bid to disrupt and prevent incidents
OSAA’s new training course emphasizes the importance of intentional communication during school events. (NW Sports Photography)
OSAA hopes a new online training course will give high schools a clear blueprint for addressing discriminatory acts at sporting events.
Athletic directors, coaches and officials must complete the OSAA Disruption and Prevention of Discrimination training, a one-time certification that takes approximately 20 minutes. As of August 24, more than 6,000 had completed the training.
The training follows an increase in reports of discrimination at high school sporting events across the country and reflects the increased emphasis on sportsmanship by the National Federation of High School Associations. It outlines protocols and obligations for reporting such acts and encourages intentional communication between attendees, administrators, and event management.
“We felt it was necessary to increase awareness of the roles and responsibilities of people at events,” the OSAA executive director said. Peter Weber said. “There seemed to be situations where people didn’t know what to do if information was reported to them or if they saw something.”
Catlin Gabel sports director kate williams said they received positive feedback from coaches about the course, with many saying they wish it had been available sooner.
“It’s very valuable training,” Williams said. “I hope it’s something that coaches and administrators will really look at and incorporate into their day-to-day practices, and into how they approach game management and the overall culture that they’re trying to create for their department. jock.”
Hood River Valley sports director Thirty Kroll says he applauds OSAA for being proactive.
“Of course, there’s a bit of, ‘How much more training will we have for coaches?'” Kroll said. “But once the coaches get it, they get it.
“I like the fact that it’s not just our head coaches, but our volunteer assistants and coaches who oversee the practice. It will be a statewide movement to change not only the way kids talk to kids, but also the way our coaches and adults talk to kids.
OSAA staff gathered information and created the training course, which includes voiceovers from the Student Advisory Council and the NFHS Executive Director, Dr. Karissa Neihoff. The Board reviewed and approved the material at its summer workshop.
Deputy Executive Director KT Emersonwho, along with Weber, serves on OSAA’s Equity and Diversity Advisory Committee, said the training fills a void.
“There’s not much that says, ‘How do we interrupt? How do we react to an incident at a sporting event compared to what happens in a classroom? said Emerson. “We try to focus on the athletic side.
“The most pressing need is in the beginning, making sure there is a presence, and the understanding for a student or coach that they have the ability to signal when something is happening. Of course, we pay more attention to it now, to help students know that they have a voice.
The training establishes a response protocol. If a player reports an incident to a coach, it should be forwarded to the match official, who will bring the two coaches together to discuss it. The coaches are then sent back to the students to remind them of the zero tolerance policy against discriminatory acts. Officials must report incidents to event management.
“Having OSAA clearly state what is expected of administrators, coaches, community members, players, puts everyone on the same page,” Williams said. “We all operate from the same location.”
Weber said “intentional communication” is a key factor in prevention.
“We want people to know that if something is reported to them, or if they see or hear something, they need to take action,” Weber said. “There needs to be that communication there so it can be addressed at that time.
“In an ideal world, it is managed between the two schools. Certainly, if something rises to the level where it needs to be handled by OSAA, I think we have shown that we are prepared to deal with that and work with the schools involved.
In such situations, Williams said, direct dialogue between schools is “by far the ideal.”
“If everyone shares the same goal in terms of ‘Let’s take this opportunity to learn and grow,’ then this is the best place to start,” Williams said.
Kroll said the training is timely for Hood River Valley given the move of the 5A school from the Intermountain Conference to the Northwest Oregon Conference this year.
“We are a very diverse community in Hood River. Forty-two percent of our students speak Spanish at home,” Kroll said. “We’ve been competing with schools that aren’t as diverse as we are, and now we’re going to be competing with schools that are more diverse.”
In 2019, OSAA introduced an incident reporting system after the passage of House Bill 3409, which implemented behavioral policies for state voluntary organizations.
OSAA has developed a complaint form and continues to work out details for its sanction process. Upon receipt of a complaint, OSAA contacts the affected schools to ensure that they investigate the matter and communicate with each other. In some cases, OSAA will use a third-party investigator.
“Since we have a reporting mechanism, we’ve had more reported incidents and more intentional follow-up at the school level,” Emerson said.