Harford School Refuses $20,000 Donation for Electronic Scoreboard

Harford School

The Harford County Board of Education stands pretty firm on their policies. This is demonstrated when they openly refused a $20,000 donation for the purchase of the Aberdeen High School new electronic scoreboard. The incredible despair was apparent on the faces of the students, sports teams and faculty, but this did not change the decision.

Apparently there is a policy in Harford County that indicates permanent advertising as well as naming facilities after corporations or people is strictly prohibited. This is being hotly debated among everyone at Aberdeen High School in Maryland, as there is also a bit of a loophole in this policy. The policy itself does not seem to cover athletic facilities, but does cover the prohibitive policy of the naming. It could be approved if the board itself felt that the addition or change would be consistent with its mission.

All of this came about when the school board received the request for a donation of $20,000 from pro football players Erin and E.J. Henderson. The brothers are alumni of Aberdeen High School and are also Minnesota Vikings linebackers. The point in question had to do with changing the school stadium name to Henderson Field and this would include having the family name on the electronic scoreboard. The controversy continued as the question was asked if the donation would still be made if the family name was not added to the scoreboard; with a quickly responded to ‘no’ as an answer.

The recommendation of a new electronic scoreboard had originally been made, and the cost was estimated at around $52,500. The donation of the $20,000 would have been an incredible offset to such an expense. It seems, however, that the board is not only looking at their policies for a reason to deny the donation, but also at the NFL records of the players that are making the donation. One board member requested that fellow members stop making allegations regarding the Henderson family as some of the members seem to focus on the four game suspension of Erin Henderson in 2009 for violation of the NFL policy on any substances that would be considered performance enhancing. Henderson had apparently been taking a prescription drug, from a physician that turned into a positive for a drug test.

This topic may still be open for discussion, a bit, as other people in the community as well as board members reminded everyone that there are other county school scoreboards in the area that have the name of beverage companies on them. It seems that there may be some discriminatory decisions being made on this topic, allowing some and disallowing others.

If the school board is going to remain a staunch advocate of their existing policies, then, they should remove the beverage company names from the other scoreboards, or go ahead and accept the donation from the famed football Henderson brothers. There may have been some very valid grassroots reasoning behind their policies, but a swing-policy, based on opinion, is not the example to set.


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