No Guns in Schools

April 29, 2015

It seemed crazy to me when I first learned that “gun-free zones” really were not free of guns.
Apparently, while many school sports administrators and officials hustled to replace blank-shooting starter pistols with different kinds of devices for signaling the start of races at cross country, swimming and track events, state laws were carving out exceptions to allow other people to carry guns into those very same events.
Now there’s an effort by some to trade a ban on “open carry” in exchange for permission to carry concealed weapons onto school grounds.
We’re proud to know our colleagues at the Michigan Association of School Boards and the Michigan Association of School Administrators and the Michigan Association of Secondary School Principals are all saying “No” to any such deal.
I suspect that many of those very same school board members, superintendents and principals are gun owners. But they also seem to appreciate that “gun-free” should mean what it says; that except for law enforcement personnel in the exercise of their official duties, guns have no place in our schools or at school events.

Cheering for Sportsmanship

July 31, 2018

(This blog first appeared on on January 8, 2013.)

I try to start each new school year at the Michigan Interscholastic Press Association summer camp at Michigan State University. I talk briefly about who the MHSAA is and what it does; and then two or three dozen high school newspaper editors and writers ask me questions; and in doing so, they give me clues to what’s going on in our schools and what’s important to our students.

Several years ago, when I opened the session to questions, one young man asked: “Mr. Roberts, what’s your job?” I paused, and then said, “I guess I’m the head cheerleader for high school sports in Michigan.”

So then this precocious student asked: “Okay, what do you cheer for?”  With a briefer pause, this is some of what I said:

  • I cheer for sportsmanship that’s not merely good, but great.

  • I cheer for sportsmanship, not gamesmanship.

  • I cheer for playing by the rules, both the letter and the spirit.

  • I cheer for maximum effort to try to win each and every contest.

  • I don’t cheer for winning at any cost; I do cheer for learning at every opportunity.

  • I cheer for losing with grace and for winning with even greater grace, with humility and modesty.

  • I cheer for the lessons of victory and the even greater lessons of defeat.