Your midweek news roundup: MSHS mourns loss of student, and could youth sports’ return in Washington be decided by the courts?

Good Wednesday morning. Coming up shortly, we take a deeper look into the news from earlier this week of the stunning announcement by Mount Si High School athletic director Darren Brown of his departure from that post to resume teaching duties at the school, examine possible options for his replacement and tell you why we believe the current COVID-19 pandemic and its resulting after-effects financially should influence how the school and Snoqualmie Valley School District proceed with finding that replacement person for the position.

However, though, we do have a couple of news items this morning to share with you.

Mount Si High School mourns loss of student
We here at the Journal want to take some time this morning to offer our condolences to the family of MSHS student Robert Draper. The school announced yesterday in a note to families that the junior, who as far as we know was not a student-athlete at the school, passed away this past weekend as the result of a drug overdose – the school indicated that, according to his family, the young man consumed a drug laced with a second drug, called fentanyl, traces of which have been found can kill someone almost immediately.

The concerns from local school administrators and law enforcement about teens coming into contact with pills and other drugs on the street containing traces of fentanyl have been ongoing since last fall, and we discussed this as we remember it correctly to some extent on our Twitter feed @snovalleysports at the time. Several schools around the area, including Mount Si’s Kingco 4A rival Skyline, had students pass away as a result of similar overdoses, and MSHS was among many Kingco schools which held parent forums regarding this issue, forums which if we remember had plenty of people attend.

Mount Si principal John Belcher, in his letter to families, indicated Draper’s family came forward with this news openly in an effort to help prevent such tragedies from taking place with other area families. He credited the family’s bravery. “We are grateful to the Draper family for their courage and selfless efforts to try to save other young lives,” Belcher wrote.

Counselors will be available to Mount Si students remotely to help them grieve this loss, and a pair of virtual “safe rooms” have also been set up for students to privately grieve as well. These rooms will be available via the Zoom app and one is this afternoon and the second is tomorrow. Students should have received access information from the school for those rooms.

Again, our condolences to the Draper family as they deal with this heartbreaking loss.

Could the fate of youth sports in Washington for 2020 be decided by a judge?
Youth sports athletes, coaches, parents and organizers are patiently awaiting clearance from Washington Governor Jay Inslee to resume normal operations following their shutdowns as a result of the COVID-19 outbreak. At this point, it is not clear when youth sports may be able to be resumed in the state, as it is believed those operations are part of the “Phase 3” of Inslee’s four-phase economic reopening plan, the one he introduced in a news conference last Friday and which he doubled down on yesterday with the announcement of three committees that will be tasked with various aspects of implementation of the plan.

However, whether this plan will even be able to be fully implemented on the governor’s time frame – and by extension, when youth and other sports could re-start – may end up being decided by a federal judge. That became perhaps clearer yesterday, with Republican members of Washington state’s House of Representatives – none from either of the two Snoqualmie Valley legislative districts – filing a lawsuit challenging the extension of Inslee’s stay at home order, also announced last Friday, to the end of this month. This federal complaint is now the third such legal action that has been filed in a week against the current orders; last week, two GOP gubernatorial candidates – Joshua Freed and Tim Eyman – filed separate lawsuits, also both at the federal level, challenging the order on constitutional grounds.

The impact to youth sports were any of these lawsuits to be successful remains to be seen, but it is important, regardless of your personal views on these lawsuits, if you are involved in youth sports in any capacity, to pay attention to how these suits fare because their outcome is likely to help shape the time frame for youth sports to return to Washington state. Remember, as we have been telling you, youth sports’ operation here or elsewhere, such as in California and Colorado, hinges largely on lifting the ban on large gatherings that is part of the current SaHo’s, so getting that taken care of will be key to getting things going. Safety requirements, such as masks for participants and temperature checks, and likely a ban on spectators, will also likely be needed for action to resume.

Those of you with Twitter, a good follow on news related to these suits and the COVID-19 response in general would be that of KCPQ’s Brandi Kruse, a fellow Valley resident. Her twitter handle is @BrandiKruse, and she is part of Q13’s morning news block from 5:30-10am each weekday. She also hosts the weekly Sunday news discussion program “The Divide” and that is on Sunday mornings. Check listings for time and channel (either Q13 or JoeTV channel 10).

Rhett Workman

About Rhett Workman

Rhett Workman is the editor of the Snoqualmie Valley Sports Journal. Workman is a veteran sports journalist, having covered Snoqualmie Valley sports for nearly a decade with the Snoqualmie Valley Record newspaper before starting up the SVSJ. Workman's coverage has earned the support and respect of Valley coaches, players, parents and fans, and the SVSJ continues the standard of coverage that Workman brought to the Valley Record.
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