Please ensure Javascript is enabled for purposes ofwebsite accessibility
Live Event
Biden on student loans and debt
Show Less
Close Alert
Biden on student loans and debt image
Live Event
Biden on student loans and debt   

President Joe Biden remarks on the administration's efforts to cancel student debt and support students and borrowers.

MNPS to no longer allow charter students 5th to 8th grade to participate in sports leagues

{p}MNPS to no longer allow charter students 5th to 8th grade to participate in sports leagues (PHOTO: WZTV){/p}{p}{/p}

MNPS to no longer allow charter students 5th to 8th grade to participate in sports leagues (PHOTO: WZTV)

Facebook Share IconTwitter Share IconEmail Share Icon

(UPDATE: May 25)

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (WZTV) - Our FOX 17 News’ investigation into Metro Schools’ decision to cut six, seventh and eighth grade charter school students out of Metro sports’ leagues caught the attention of the Beacon Center of Tennessee. It’s a government watchdog group.

On April 29, Metro’s public charter middle schools were told to create their own sports leagues by July 1. The Beacon Center’s Executive Vice President, Stephanie Whitt, spoke one-on-one with FOX 17 News’ Erika Glover.

“What action are you all considering when it comes to assisting families that are impacted by what you all describe as a needless attack,” Glover asked.

“Well I don’t think anything’s off the table,” Whitt responded. “We do have a litigation team and they’re going to be looking really closely at what options are available for parents.”

The Beacon Center’s most recent statement reads in-part, “Instead of trying to provide the best quality education to our children, MNPS has decided to plot revenge against families who choose public charter schools to obtain a better education.”

When we asked MNPS for their response to the Beacon Center statement, their spokesperson responded, "It’s just a cheap insult and has no journalistic merit."

Glover then requested an interview with Director of Schools Dr. Adrienne Battle to make her aware of parent concerns. Our request was denied. The same spokesperson wrote via email, “We have provided that information to the schools and held information meetings to answer questions on how to do just that.”

Charter school math teacher, coach and mom of two Melissa Lockhart said she's pursuing accountability.

“I don’t think we were given a proper voice in this,” Lockhart exclaimed. “I think the choice was made for us and we’re being told to kind of take it.”


(UPDATE: May 24, 2022)

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (WZTV) - LEAD Southeast Middle School math teacher and cheerleading coach Melissa Lockhart guides her athletes with a sense of pride.

“We literally just got brand new uniforms this year,” Lockhart exclaimed.

However, Coach Lockhart said there is a chance they will not wear them this year.

“I’m still hopeful that someone will realize that this is not fair and it’s not equitable and it is not enough time,” Lockhart said.

On April 29, Metro Nashville Public Schools (MNPS) announced public charter middle school students can only participate in their own sports programs starting July 1.

FOX 17 News’ Erika Glover spoke with Dwayne Tucker. He is the CEO of LEAD Public Schools, a network of six public charter schools in Nashville.

“Under Tennessee Law charter schools are public schools,” Tucker explained. “The majority of our schools were chartered by the MNPS district.”

“Although we’re a charter school for LEAD Southeast we don’t test to get in,” Tucker added. “We have the exact same kids that go to all the Metro Schools.”

An MNPS spokesperson shared the following statement with FOX 17 News:

“State law mandates that charter schools receive an equal per pupil portion of state and local funding to serve the needs of their students, with an anticipated $234 million going to Davidson County charter schools in the upcoming budget year. Charter schools have autonomy to develop and manage their academic and extracurricular programming. This would include the sports offerings for their students. Given the current and anticipated future growth in charter seats, we believe they have the capacity to use their resources to develop a parallel middle school sports program allowing our district to focus on further developing and improving the programs we offer to MNPS students.”

“It puts our student athletes in a very difficult position,” Tucker exclaimed.

“The only people who are being disservice through this whole choice are the kids and I thought we were all on the same team,” Lockhart explained. “What’s best for the kids is always priority.”

Now she’s worried the new policy could also keep her two charter middle school athletes off the basketball court.


If middle school students enrolled in Nashville charter schools want to participate in athletics, it will be up to coaches and staff to create their own league by the first of July.

Metropolitan Nashville Public Schools (MNPS) are standing by their decision in an email to FOX 17 News. We were told, “There was no rule or policy in place requiring MNPS to facilitate charter athletics.”

FOX 17 News was also told charter schools were informed of this decision April 29.

However, Nashville-based LEAD Public Schools’ Dwayne Tucker said they had no say in this decision and he is CEO of the charter school network. Tucker told FOX 17 News’ Erika Glover their request for more time was denied.

“Under Tennessee law charter schools are public schools,” Tucker explained. “The majority of our schools are chartered by the MNPS District. To walk away from that without any communication at all about what the rational was behind the decision and leaving us to then go out to start a new league with two months notice, I just find it unacceptable.”

Many parents are wondering what’s behind the move and tight July 1 deadline. FOX 17 News also took their concerns to Metro School Board Member John Little.

We’ll share his response, along with parent reaction on FOX 17 News at 9 and 10 p.m. on Tuesday, May 24.

Get reports like this and all the news of the day in Middle Tennessee delivered to your inbox each morning with the FOX 17 News Daily Newsletter.

Loading ...