Derby’s Board of Education voted Tuesday night to allow Derby High School football players to use school equipment in independent tackle football.
There was no objection heard in the hybrid meeting, though there was at least one abstention.
Derby’s board joins Meriden’s, which last week approved allowing its high schools to use school equipment and facilities, and New Britain’s, which on Monday night voted to allow its high school’s students to use equipment.
Several players spoke during public participation both in Derby and New Britain to ask the boards for the equipment to help defray the cost of independent football.
HUGE WIN for members of the @DerbyCTFootball team who spoke passionately tonight, presenting to the BOE to support their play this season. Congratulations fellas. Represent Derby with pride.@DerbyRedRaider pic.twitter.com/0Omsl62eoe
— MaskedRedRaider (@RedRaiderCT) October 6, 2020
In New Britain, the motion initially failed after the board split with one member not voting, first-year Hurricanes coach Isaiah Boddie said.
“I was really worried for (the seniors’) mental well-being. A big thing we as coaches talk about is empowering these guys to continue to fight,” Boddie said. “If it’s the right thing to do, it’s worth fighting for, and at that time, falling short, it was tough.”
After receiving more information about the team’s COVID-19 protocols, the board reconsidered at the end of their meeting and approved the plan.
Boddie said the team uses a group communication app. He sent the team a message: “Goonies Never Say Die.”
“The kids, I don’t know if they’ve seen that movie,” Boddie said, “but us coaches, we got it.”
Under the proposal, the board will lend football equipment to the Junior Hurricanes youth program for students to use in independent football.
Boddie said nothing further is set in stone for New Britain, that there’s “a lot of legwork to do,” but the team is hoping to play the last two weekends of October. They’re also playing 7-on-7 games.
Both Derby and New Britain will ask parents to sign a waiver modeled on the one used in Meriden.