WJTV News Channel 12 - Radford parents march, protesting cross country ban

Radford parents march, protesting cross country ban

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In protest, parents of the bobcats cross country team marched to the school board on the same streets their kids were banned from running on.

While the ban was put in place as a safety measure for the runners, parents say the alternate trails of Bisset park and a farm their kids are now being bussed half an hour too aren't going giving them the conditioning they need.

Parents say cross country coach Mike Carrow was recently temporarily suspended after allowing them to run through the town, despite the ban.

Florence Mogan's son won the state cross country match last year, but says this years practice courses aren't going to take them back to state.

"I'm concerned that they aren't going to be as well prepared when it comes time for the state meet," Mogan said.

Tuesday night, Florence was joined by more than one hundred people with the same concerns, angry with the school board, demanding answers.

"I don't understand why it happened, but in the end I don't care," said Mark Schafer.

Parents say the team is suffering greatly. They say it has shown in the last two meets where runners admit their times are far slower than last years.

They say they need a varied terrain to run. The trails they are running now are often redundant and don't provide the hills necessary.

Slower running times than ever before added on top of injuries. One runner limped to the podium and addressed the board.

"I know I'm injured right now and I was injured during a race and I feel that it is because we did not have the hills to train on," the young girl said.

But anger put aside, parents and runners asked for a compromise to get the training they need back on the streets on Radford.

Runners said they were willing to make any compromise necessary including wearing blaze orange safety vests when running. They said they just want progress and to not be remember as the team who fought with the school board and got no where.

The board says they are working on a cross country course for the team, but it won't happen this season due to lack of funds.

The board expressed deep care for the children and their safety and say that's why the ban was put in place.

In the mean, despite the parent outcry the board says they aren't budging.

G. Lynn Burris says its not something he is willing to risk.

"I've been on the board for 12 years and I've never waivered from that and I'm not going to waiver from that now. We can talk about it...but that's the decision we made," Burris said.

So for now, parents say they'll keep on fighting.


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