On Tuesday afternoon (09.26.17), our District’s 9th grade boys soccer team played an away match against Conestoga High School. One of our students on this team wears religious headwear in observation of his Sikh faith.
Early in the match, the PIAA referee assigned by PIAA to officiate the match informed our student that he was not permitted to wear his headwear while playing.
Our team’s soccer coach, Mike Snow, responded to the referee that our student wore his headwear for religious purposes.
Nevertheless, the referee indicated that our student needed to remove his headwear, and if he refused to do so, our student would not be permitted to play in the match.
Coach Snow vociferously objected to the referee’s ruling regarding our student’s headwear. Despite Coach Snow’s strenuous advocacy for the right of our student to appropriately wear religious headwear, the referee did not reverse his ruling. Therefore, our student was relegated to the sidelines for the match.
Coach Snow immediately telephoned Athletic Director Chris Gicking to alert him to this issue. AD Gicking immediately and strenuously advocated for our student, including with his contact at PIAA, in an effort to permit our student to play in this match. AD Gicking also communicated with the opposing team’s athletic director and his assistant, who joined with our District in strong agreement that our student should be permitted to play in the match while wearing his religious headwear. Unfortunately, AD Gicking’s efforts were to no avail, and therefore our student remained relegated to the sidelines for the remainder of the match.