MT. VERNON — The District 80 Board of Education has created a special committee to explore possibly starting a Pee Wee basketball program for third and fourth grade students.
Developing a basketball program for fifth graders will also be investigated by the committee. However, a fifth grade team would be in a separate category than Pee Wee sports.
“(We want) to explore the possibilities of having a third, fourth and fifth grade program,” said Superintendent Mike Green. “You want to consider everything, so we just want to get as many facts as we can and let the facts kind of drive the decision.”
The District 80 Board formed the committee at its regular monthly meeting Wednesday night.
During the session, District 80 parent Wes Plummer made a presentation to the board, asking them to consider starting a Pee Wee basketball program.
Plummer is the recreation coordinator for the Mt. Vernon Parks and Recreation Department. Even so, he said he was not at the meeting representing the parks department, but was there as a parent.
Currently, third, fourth and fifth graders in District 80 do not have school basketball teams. Plummer said they are missing out on a great deal by not having them.
“This gives you something that you can inspire these kids (with),” Plummer said.
Early involvement in athletics brings many benefits to children, including teaching them hard work, perseverance and good sportsmanship, Plummer said.
Kids involved in organized sports are also less likely to experiment with drugs and alcohol, he said.
“They learn a lot of life lessons,” Plummer said of being in sports. “The younger you start learning those things, the more equipped you are to handle successes and failures in life.”
District 80 is the only school district in Jefferson County that does not offer Pee Wee basketball for third and fourth graders, Plummer said.