There was irony Tuesday evening, as members of the Radford High school cross-country team walked through the same city streets, they've been banned from running on.
Sitting and standing, the packed crowd demanded to know why running on city streets is
no longer allowed.
Several dozen student-athletes sat at the very front of the super small school board conference room. Randolph Colby, a senior at Radford High and a cross-country member, was one of the first to speak.
"No real evidence has been presented as to why this ban was made," Colby said. "But when the police department was asked about this, they said the school board had only come to them for these statistics, after the ban had been made."
Parents and students took turns asking why the ban began in the first place. One student-athlete seemed to speak for both sides.
"I so want to move forward and I'm so open to any sort of discussion. I don't want to be remembered as the team that got nowhere because we were fighting the whole time."
At one point, board members apologized for not keeping their constituents in the loop.
Carol Colby said the board made its decision without qualified information and may have implemented the ban illegally, citing a state statute by a very specific section of code.
"As you know," said Colby, "2.23711 sets out limited exemptions and business the school board can conduct outside of public view."
Some members of the board thanked the overflow and outspoken crowd for coming out, and then, summarily, said its decision would not change.
The board said it was tethered to its decision for legal, but not necessarily righteous reasons.
And so with the rallying cry, "this portion of the meetings over, let's meet outside!", these folks poured outside and scratched their collective heads about what had just happened.
Mark Schafer, one of dozens of Radford parents who made their case before the board, was amazed at its very public reason for not lifting the controversial ban.
"Because [the board] made a decision to ban running on streets and sidewalks, safe neighborhoods in Radford, that they can't go back on it," said Schafer. "In fact, they've been told by [city lawyers] they will be liable for anything that happens after that."
This reporter had hoped to speak on the record with Radford city school superintendent Dr. Becky Greer. Radford's first female school district leader had agreed earlier to an on-camera interview, but was unable to meet this reporter's deadline to file this report.