Illinois girls basketball team has trip to Arizona cancel

Posted May 14, 2010 by Michael Bearak
Highland Park High School's girls basketball team found their upcoming December trip to Arizona canceled, and it has left the parents crying foul.
A protest sign in downtown Los Angeles to protest Arizona s new immigration law
A protest sign in downtown Los Angeles to protest Arizona's new immigration law
Highland Park Illinois and Phoenix Arizona are over a day's drive apart from each other, if you want to get technical, they are actually 1,771 miles from each other, but right now it seems they could be next-door neighbors. The Assistant-Superintendent for District 113, Suzan Hebson has found herself in the center of a fire-storm after announcing that a trip for the Highland Park High School girl's basketball team has been canceled.
Hebson has claimed that the canceled trip is because of safety concerns, but parents feel that the move is political and a response to the state's recent illegal immigration bill.
District Superintendent, George Fornero stuck by Hebson issuing a statement, "under long standing constitutional law, all school districts are required to provide an education to all children within the District's borders regardless of immigration status."
That didn't do anything to appease parents and students who have formed a Facebook group entitled, "Fire Suzan Hebson." One poster cited the fact that the excuse of safety doesn't exactly hold water since the school sends students to China, South America and other places that would be considered much higher risks than Arizona.
According to Michael Evans, the parent of one of the basketball players, there was no vote, no consultation, just a decision by Hebson. Evans went on to say, "I'm not sure whose values and what values and what beliefs they're talking about. We were just going to Arizona to play basketball and our daughters were very disappointed to find out the trip had been canceled."
Evans also pointed out that if a parent or child was concerned over their safety then they don't to go to the tournament either, but that it shouldn't cost the entire team the chance to play.
It was Evans who also pointed out the extent to which the school district allows students to travel, "The school has sent children to China, they've sent children to South America, they've sent children to the Czech Republic, but somehow Arizona is more unsafe for them than those places," he said. "The beliefs and values of China are apparently aligned, since they approved that trip."
The school also cited the fact that the 2010-2011 girls basketball team had not yet been selected, and it would be premature to commit to a tournament when they are not sure that the well-being and safety of all the team members would be capable. The school on Wednesday fell back on the belief of providing for the safety of the students as one of their obligations.
District 113 issed a statement on Wednesday stating, "We cannot commit at this time to playing at a venue where some of our students’ safety or liberty might be placed at risk because of state immigration law."
One of the young ladies on the basketball team had this to say to Fox News, "It's ultimately the state's decision, no matter what I think. Not playing basketball in Arizona is not going to change anything." She is also against the legislation in Arizona.