Would remove discretion from coaches
By Chip Rowe
The Haldane Central School District has drafted a code of conduct for sports and extracurricular activities that removes the discretion of coaches in how a student will be punished for using alcohol, tobacco or drugs or other violations of the law.
If adopted by the school board, the draft, dated Feb. 1 and posted on the Haldane website, would prohibit students taking part in athletics or extracurricular activities such as plays, musical performances and student government from using or possessing alcohol, tobacco or other illegal drugs, including vaping pens and steroids or “lookalike products that appear to be illegal drugs,” as well as abusing prescription drugs or over-the-counter products.
It also would ban students from hosting or “actively participating” in parties where drugs or alcohol are consumed by minors, posting photos online that depict the use of drugs or alcohol, or engaging in “vandalism, theft, harassment, intimidation, bullying, assault (verbal or physical), hazing or other serious, inappropriate acts.”
It is not clear from the draft if the code would apply to students during the off-season of their sports, including the summer. Currently, discipline for infractions that occur off school grounds are left to the discretion of each coach.
If adopted, the new Haldane policy calls for a minimum two-week suspension for a first offense within a calendar year, a suspension for 50 percent of the remaining games or activities for a second offense, and a year-long suspension after a third offense. Coaches and administrators will be able to impose additional punishment. It does not outline an appeals process.
The Haldane school board said on Oct. 3 it would draft a policy after complaints from parents at what they saw as a lax attitude by some coaches toward athletes caught using alcohol or drugs.
In Beacon, the school district forbids athletes from using alcohol, tobacco, illegal drugs or performance-enhancing drugs from the start of the fall season to the last day of the spring season, regardless of the sport. The punishment for a first offense is a two-week suspension from sports; for a second offense, removal for one sports season or two months, whichever is longer; and for a third, removal from the athletic program for one year.
Appeals may be filed within five days to the Beacon athletic director for review by an appeals committee of the A.D., a neutral coach and an administrator.