CALCASIEU PARISH, LA (KPLC) -
Student athletes in Calcasieu Parish who are uninsured will now be required to purchase a coverage policy.
Nearly 200 Calcasieu student athletes will have to pay to play. The school district tells us 182 student athletes are uninsured. Now those athletes – which include football players, cheerleaders and even band members – will now be required to purchase a coverage policy if they wish to participate.
To deal with increasing premium costs, the Calcasieu Parish School Board adopted a new insurance policy for student athletes on Tuesday that now essentially requires students to pay to play.
Of the 182 uninsured student athletes, about 40 are football players who will see the highest policy prices.
“Obviously the football rate is a little more expensive just because it's a full contact sport,” explained Risk Manager Skylar Giardina.
Giardina says prices will range from $125-$325 per year depending on grade and whether they choose school time or 24-hour coverage.
Washington Marion's head football coach Freddie Harrison thinks it's a great policy.
“I don't foresee any concerns as a parent at all because first off, it is an extracurricular activity, it's not an activity you are forced to do,” said Harrison.
But uninsured 'non-football' athletes will also have to purchase the policy which ranges from $35-$132.
All the other sports also includes cheerleading, dance line, pep squad and band members.
Some assistant principals offered their thoughts on that.
“It is a big change from what we've offered for the past couple of decades, but with the financial times as they are, it was a necessary change,” said Aaron McDonald, Assistant Principal of Moss Bluff Middle School.
Patrick Fontenot, Assistant Principal at Iowa High School added, “I don't think it's going to be a real impact on us. It's probably going to streamline the process.”
But not everyone's happy. One person wrote on our Facebook wall 'What a joke'. Another, 'This is ridiculous. They try to say sports and other activities are good for students but are making it to where some parents can't afford it.'
As for those who may not be able to afford the policy, Harrison said, “I think as coaches, that's when you step in and try to help those kids or help those parents find funding.”
Additional information will be sent to parents in the coming weeks to educate them on the new policy.
The voluntary policy as it’s called will cover students through the school year as well as summer.