Supporters of the East St. Louis High School track team say they want to begin  the superintendent’s day with a message. “Reinstate the team”.

(Brian Kelly, KMOX)

UPDATE: State Board Upholds Termination Of East St. Louis Track Team's Season

Their season was cancelled last week after members of the boys track team were involved in a fight at a track meet.

May 14, 2018 - 4:40 am
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EAST ST. LOUIS (KMOX) updated at 2:40 p.m. - The East St. Louis High School track team's season is cancelled after all, as the Illinois State Board of Education has upheld the decision by the school's superintendent, last week.

The District 189 School Board voted this morning to allow the team to finish its season, which had been cancelled by after a brawl at the conference meet last Tuesday. But, the state superintendent had to sign off on it before the team was reinstated - and he didn't. 

State Superintendent of Education Tony Smith send a letter to East St. Louis School superintendent, which read in part: 

"I have reviewed your decision to terminate the East St. Louis track and field season and I uphold your decision. In making this decision, my office reviewed several videos of the brawl that took place on May 8, 2018, and clearly see several members of the East St. Louis track and field team involved in the brawl. Additionally, I reviewed several statements from staff and witnesses at the May 8, 2018, track meet as well as other witnesses who have heard threatening statements or seen threatening behavior since May 8. It is clear to me that the tensions in East St. Louis have continued to escalate and the School District needs to take swift and careful action to ensure the safety and security of student athletes, spectators, and competitors."

Smith sided with East St. Louis School Board superintendent Arthur Culver, saying he has reviewed videos and saw several East St. Louis track team members involved with the brawl. He agreed with Culver that cancelling the season for safety reasons, due to the tension amongst young adults in East St. Louis, was for the best. 

The vote from the East St. Louis board this morning was unanimous, in favor of overturning Culver's decision and reinstating the track team's season. But it needed a final approval from Smith at the state level to complete the reinstation. 

The cancellation came last week, after district officials said they confirmed that members of the team contributed to the escalation of a fight at last Tuesday's conference meet. The fight began in the stands and there were reportedly a number of people in bright orange and blue Flyers track uniforms in the stands. The team's supporters say the entire team should not be punished for the actions of a few. 

Protestors were waiting out infront of Culver's parking spot at the administrator's office, Monday morning. They say reversing the decision will allow the students to compete in the championships plus give them a chance to be scouted, recruited and get scholarships. 

Dozens of students walked out of class at East St. Louis High School and took the nearly three-mile hike down State Street to the administration office – same as they did last Friday – in protest of last week's decision by Culver. The students weren't disciplined for leaving school, says a district spokesperson. 

After the track meet fight last Tuesday, the district released this statement: 

"While the investigation is still ongoing, it has been confirmed that members of the Flyers track team contributed to the escalation of the altercation at the meet held on May 9, 2018. Therefore, we are ending the boys’ track season immediately. Further consequences will be given to individuals involved in the incident, in accordance with our discipline policy. Our Code of Conduct outlines expectations of student behavior; the actions that some student athletes engaged in on May 9th do not uphold our values. Hopefully, this will be a learning experience for all of our students and athletes."

The East St. Louis boys track team are perennial contentors for a Illinois state championship. This year's championship meet is scheduled for May 24-26 at Eastern Illinois University.