LOS ANGELES (CBS) — LAUSD Superintendent Ramon Cortines is demanding answers Friday after coaches and teachers failed to cancel a high school cross country meet during extreme heat Thursday afternoon.

Ramon Cortines Tells KNX 1070 Track Meet Should Have Been Canceled

Fire spokesman Erik Scott says 12 young people in all, mostly student athletes, were evaluated for heat-related illnesses Thursday afternoon.

About 800 athletes were participating in the race sponsored by the Los Angeles Unified School District, which released the following statement Friday:

“The safety and well-being of all students of the Los Angeles Unified School District (LAUSD) is paramount to our mission. Consequently, the District has policies and procedures to ensure that objective is met when students are involved in physical activities at elevated temperatures.

To counteract heat stress, it is the responsibility of Los Angeles Unified School District personnel to pay attention to weather conditions and use common sense and good judgment for modifying student activities. Authorities in the fields of medicine, environmental and occupational hazards, and safety have thoroughly studied heat stress and have issued guidelines pertaining to modifying physical activity and school or work schedules. The District has followed these guidelines in its directions to schools and coaches.

Prior to yesterday’s cross country meet, participating coaches were sent communications reminding them of the need to hydrate their student athletes. Announcements continued to be made throughout the cross country meet reminding coaches to keep their students well hydrated.

Additionally, given the weather conditions at the time of the race, coaches and student athletes were given the opportunity to not participate in Thursday’s race. Precautions, such as allowing runners to carry water bottles throughout the race, were in place. Two paramedics were at the meet as part of the District management of the event.

A total of 25 out of the 40 schools participating at the meet were from the LAUSD. Prior to commencement of the race, the participating coaches met to discuss if they wanted to proceed with the event. The decision to proceed with the meet was based on District guidelines and the coaches’ assessment of their students’ preparedness. However, after several races had been run, a few students started to become distressed and the meet was immediately canceled at 4 p.m. The District’s response was quick, effective and responsible.

A complete account of yesterday’s situation is being currently being reviewed by the District and a report will be prepared for Superintendent Cortines.”

The National Weather Service says Woodland Hills recorded a high of 97 degrees Thursday.

Air quality was in the moderate range in the San Fernando Valley which means that unusually sensitive people should consider limiting prolonged outdoor exertion.

© Copyright 2010 The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

Comments (15)
  1. gerardo says:

    i was there to run for cross country

    1. Bob says:

      This is not about you, Monkey Boy

  2. 5krunner says:

    That’s weak! It’s always 100 by our school and we NEVER have any problems with a large team, or with any of our meets for that matter. Coaches just need to make sure their athletes are healthy and hydrated, and if they’re not, don’t let them race!

    1. jenna54 says:

      oh shut up we are not even alowed to practice in that type of heat stupid…

  3. Anonymous Runner says:

    Cross Country runners encounter both heat and cold! If it’s hot, make sure you’re properly hydrated and trained. It’s not always the coach’s fault, athletes need to be accountable too! A bag of hot Cheetos and a Gatorade right before the race doesn’t bode well for your outcome!

  4. Jesse says:

    All these comments either come from Coaches or People who are trying to agree with them.. that’s “B/S”…
    I’ll never let my kids to practice any sports under those conditions….
    Over 100 Degrees and the coaches not canceling the event.. Yeah Right… it’s not their fault..” It’s the kids fault”… Think about it before making any stupid comments people..
    If the kids would refuse to participate in the race…They wold expect bad grades from these “COACHES”…. If I can call them coaches….

  5. Matt says:

    Someone should fix the headline on this article: It’s the LAUSD’s fault not the LAPD’s. The LAPD isn’t even mentioned in this article.

  6. John says:

    As a parent attending this event once it became obvious that students where in distress the event was canceled. Several heats had successfully been completed before any students had any issues. My son attends Chatsworth High and their team trains under similar weather conditions and their team was properly coached and prepared. None of the CHS students had any medical issues.

  7. Lawrence says:

    I was a LAUSD high school cross country runner many years ago. Due to geographic location in the LAUSD, most of our meets were not at Pierce College, but a few times each year we traveled to Pierce. Student athletes were lectured for weeks in advance about the hotter, drier course at Pierce, the lack of shade, and need for water. In advance of Pierce, our practice route was modified to eliminate shade, and require repeated climbs of steep hills in full sun. I think our coach knew his business and did his job. Nobody on our team had problems at Pierce, but we did occasionally see people from other teams drop out of the race and receive assistance. I never saw a meet cancelled due to high temperature, but at least one was cancelled due to bad air quality – smog was a whole lot worse in LA in those days. Superintendent Cortines can write and distribute all the policies and procedures he wants, but what he needs are professional educators who love their work and take their jobs seriously – and he’s desperately short on those.

  8. Buck says:

    Idiot parents first off. Parents are first accountable. They knew kids were running. Second drink water not sports drinks. Save the sports drink to replinish afterwards. The run isn’t that long

  9. Raymond says:

    So, if the guidelines were followed and the temp. was under the allowable, along with a coaches meeting that was in agreement to go forward, whats the problem?? After problems came about, the meet was canceled…..end of story. Lets stop making this bigger than what it is.

  10. jerry harris says:

    I used to get email news updates but have not been getting them please send them again thanks, Jerry

  11. jenna54 says:

    i was there to run and it was crazy hot and then dont allow water up there during the meet…i saw many girls start feeling sick thankfully none of our runners got sick…

  12. nancy arnold says:

    I was there too. I am a parent of one of the runners and was concerned when coming to the race that my temperature gadge on my car read 102 degrees! After the very first race, I saw a girl pass out at the finish line. When I questioned officials about this, they brushed it off and said she just needed to be hydrated. Other parents were also voicing concern but we were all assured everything was fine and the race could go on. There were announcements about keeping the bathrooms clean but no announcements about staying hydrated or calling the race. It wasn’t until after 4:00pm that the race was called. It started at 2:30pm….an hour an a half too long if you ask me. Races can be made up. I agree with the writer that said that kids will never tell their coaches they can’t run because of the heat in fear that they will be cut from the team or receive a bad great. It is up to the coaches to know better. They don’t practice in heat above 95, so they shouldn’t run in heat above 95. Luckily my daughter was hydrated well and is a very strong runner…I feel very sad for those who didn’t have adults looking after their well-being!

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