Franklin football forced to forfeit; parents address board of health

As of Friday, district data shows 2% of Franklin High School students isolated for positive cases, while 33% of students are currently quarantined for close contact.

On Saturday, the percent positive rose above 3%, which led to the change. The school says it's the right thing to do, while parents brought their message to the city board of health tonight pleading for a reversal.

Emotions were already running high from the challenge of playing football during a pandemic to a big win over cross-town rival Oak Creek.

The Franklin Sabers were just a game away from a possible state championship — then they were forced to forfeit.

"We followed their gameplan, and then they kinda pulled the rug from underneath us and took that away from us, just because they decided the school was gonna go virtual," Senior Jarrick Miller said.

Saturday, after the district's metrics elevated to a high-concern level, Franklin High School transitioned from in-person to virtual learning for two weeks — including the postponement of contact sports, like football.

Franklin High Athletic Director Jordan Hein says the decision was made based on a health department directive.

"Anytime a season ends suddenly like that, without closure and without control, that's obviously upsetting and I sympathize with our seniors and our families," Hein said.

Still, parents feel football was unfairly targeted, citing the continuation of other activities, like swimming.

Taking that message to the city's board of health Monday night, parents are seeking answers for their kids, who they say should get the chance to end the season on their terms.

But the board of health says that decision lies with the school district as parents race to get a reversal before Friday.

"They hang out. They talk. They're polite to each other. They're the most respectful little beings I've ever met in my life, and to just see that taken from them is heartbreaking as a parent," Karen Hartje said.

In an email, WIAA football administrator Wade Labecki says it's possible for the Sabers to re-enter the tournament, should the school and health department reverse their decision, but he doesn't want to pressure the decision-makers.