Archive for the ‘HS Code of Conduct’ Category

HS CODE OF CONDUCT: Can We Get Our Athletes to Think Ahead if We Toughen Up the School’s Code of Conduct?

It was a real stunner when Mack Breed, the defensive coach at John Jay HS, came forth and acknowledged that he instructed his two defensive backs, Moreno and Rojas, to “hit” the ref and make him pay because the ref had made bad calls against John Jay all game.

And the two football players did just that. They followed the coach’s instructions, and blindsided the ref.

The video tape is very clear.

Now, let me try and put this San Antonio HS football assault into perspective…what the bigger meaning is.

By all accounts, these two HS students seem to be regular kids. Very presentable. Take school seriously.
John Jay HS is an award-winning HS in San Antonio.

And yet…they both claim that their defensive coach instructed them to deliberately take out the ref.

Two questions immediately come into play:

Why in the world would a coach — presumably a grown-up adult – actually instruct a player to deliberately hurt an official in a game?

And why wouldn’t these kids have enough common sense to stop and think about the repercussions of their actions before doing this?

I talk on WFAN all the time about the importance of accountability, and why our kids need to learn this crucial concept….to learn how to think ahead about their actions BEFORE THEY do it. In short, it’s a vital skill that teenagers have to consciously learn.

As a parent (or coach), if you can teach your youngster to always think ahead about what kinds of consequences their actions will have, then you have done an excellent job in teaching your kid to become mature. In this case, I would like to ask Rojas and Moreno to explain what they thought would happen to the ref if they hit him hard from behind, and also what kind of punishment they might be given for doing that.

The kids make their attack in the middle of a HS football game, with lots and lots of witnesses. And of course, every play in the game is videotaped.

And yet they still did it. In short, they didn’t think first about their actions.

ARE WE TOO LAX WITH PUNISHMENTS?

I know I’m “old school” about this….but I do wonder about the seemingly lax rules that abide in Codes of Conduct. Many schools in this country give athletes several chances to screw up before the penalties start to become harsh.

Look, I understand that teenagers make mistakes. But my argument is that why are we so kind and forgiving? That is, if we made it abundantly clear to our teenage athletes that you don’t get a second chance, I wonder whether that might force them to think twice before doing stupid things.

That might sound like a modern day form of tough love, but I do think it’s an approach worth considering. If there were a zero-tolerance approach with today’s student-athletes, maybe they would think twice before getting drunk at a party, or breaking team curfew, or sending out something stupid on their Twitter account, or before they decide to assault a ref from behind.

Once they did begin to think ahead about their actions, they progress from being teenagers into mature adults.

In this case, nobody has asked the two football players what or how they thought they would be punished. Or if they realized they could really hurt the ref.

I presume they were just more interested in gaining some positive feedback from their coach for their actions….obviously, the coach is not very smart either by telling the kids to hit the ref.

So my takeaway is this: we really need to get our coaches and parents to make penalties and punishments really stand up so that there’s no temptation to break the rules. There’s nothing wrong with hazing a zero-tolerance policy in place. Kids will live with it and will learn from it. Besides, it might just prevent all sorts of other terrible incidents from taking place.

I would suggest you sit down with your HS athletic director to see if the time has come to toughen up your school’s Code of Conduct. You might be surprised at how lenient it is.

 

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HS CODE OF CONDUCT: Tennis Players Join Senior Skip Day; Then Told They’re Suspended from Playing in State Quarterfinals

You’re a senior on the HS tennis team. And in a few days, you and your teammates are competing in the state’s quarterfinals tournament.

But later this week, it’s Senior Skip Day – a very unofficial day in which Seniors decide not to attend class, much to the consternation of the faculty. But Senior Skip Day has become something of a tradition in recent years, and besides, what harm is done?

The school’s athletic director warns the senior tennis players that there will be consequences if they follow the crowd on Skip Day.

Sure enough, the tennis players skip class.

And sure enough, the AD suspends them from playing in the tennis tournament. And without them being eligible, the team loses big time.

Is there a lesson to be learned here? Was the AD being too tough? Unreasonable? Were his actions unfair to the seniors as well as the other members of the team?

I had lots of calls on my show saying that the AD was indeed too tough –that he should have found a different way to discipline the three seniors.

But then a number of calls reversed the trend – that the AD was absolutely correct in what he did. That the three seniors were unbelievably selfish, especially after having being warned, and that there was no sense of accountability by these three kids.

Personally, I agree with that. Accountability is one of the most important lessons that young people need to learn from sports, and especially team sports. One has to learn that you have to be responsible for your actions.

In this case, the tennis players made a conscious decision not to play in order to participate in an illegal activity of playing hooky. As such, if the AD hadn’t suspended them, I would have wondered where his priorities were.

So kudo’s to him for doing the right thing.

I just hope that the three tennis players will see the light as well.

 

HS CODE OF CONDUCT: A Possible Solution to the Conflict between School Vacations and Varsity Games

On my radio show last Sunday, when we talked about the perennial conflicts between school/family vacations and varsity games/practices, the calls ranged all over the lot. Some folks felt that family vacations come first…others argued that being on a varsity team is a privilege not to be abused.

But by the end of the hour, one call seemed to stand out. Dave Miller, who has been the long-time and highly successful coach at Smithtown West HS on Long Island, chimed in with his approach. In short, he makes the players who want to try out for the varsity sign an agreement the preceding fall — long before the tryouts begin in the spring. He also has the kid’s parents sign the contract as well, just so there’ no misunderstanding. A copy of Coach Miller’s “contract” is published below.

Controversial? Too extreme? Well, Coach Miller reports that by taking this kind of pro-active approach well in advance of the spring tryouts AND he lets the girls know what’s at stake, he hasn’t encountered many issues in recent years.

Is this right, or only, solution? That I don’t know. And I’m the first to admit there are all sorts of complications and other concerns concerning this issue. It’s a thorny problem.

But at least Coach Miller has found a way that works for him and the girls in his softball program – that is, let everybody know well in advance what his policy is and what’s at stake.

 

To: Varsity, JV softball

candidates and your family

From: Coach Miller

 On behalf of the coaches, I would like to welcome you to Smithtown West Softball. We hope you find your experience enjoyable and rewarding.

 The history of our softball program speaks for itself. We are playoff participants every year and we have an outstanding reputation with college coaches for having one of the elite programs on Long Island. Many of our players advance on to play college ball. The reasons we have been so successful are because our players know what it takes to be a winner AND they are willing to do whatever is required to achieve our goals.

 In order for us to continue our success, you should be aware that by being a part of our program requires a major commitment and that sacrifices will have to be made by you and your family. It will be necessary to make softball your major priority before other things in your life. This may be difficult for some of you. However, I cannot emphasize strongly enough that in order for you to develop as a player and for the team to succeed, you must make these adjustments.

 If for any reason you feel that you will be unable to fulfill your obligations, you should reconsider your decision to tryout for Varsity. Be aware that you are making a 12-week commitment to our program. Being a member of the Varsity requires that you honor your obligations to your team and teammates. You are expected to be at practice daily and at each game. Please understand that we are being as fair and honest with you as we can. You should also be aware that no player will be considered for Varsity if you are away during spring break.

 I would like to address the role of the JV. A JV prepares players for Varsity participation.

Playing on a JV does not guarantee Varsity selection. It is possible for someone to play 2 or 3 years on the JV, have sufficient skills for that level, but not for the Varsity. Although some JV players advance to the Varsity, some do not. Players are selected to   the Varsity or JV after careful evaluation. Each girl is given an equal opportunity to demonstrate her skills. Selection to each team is based on skill level, not grade level. Also, some returning juniors may be placed on the JV.

Both you and your parent must sign this form  indicating your acceptance of our policy. Please put it in my mailbox in the girl’s PE office as soon as possible.

 Tryouts begin March 3. Feel free to leave a message for me at 555-5555 or by e-mail  should you have any questions.

 Coach Miller

Varsity Softball                                                                                                

 

Parent signature_________________________________________

 

 

Print name_____________________________________________

 

 

Player signature_________________________________________

 

 

Print name_____________________________________________

 

HS CODE OF CONDUCT: Should Kids Be Penalized for Missing Games Due to Family Vacation?

Here’s a knotty problem that has been around for some time at the HS varsity level…and yet nobody seems to have found a really workable solution for it.

I’m talking about school breaks at Easter/Passover and over Christmas/New Year’s. Most varsity sports programs last about 10 weeks. During that time, if there’s a week slated off for vacation, that can really wreak havoc with the schedule – especially in the spring where outside sports can be derailed by the weather.

Most of the time, the coach will instruct players at the first practice that anyone who misses a practice or game during a vacation break will be penalized. Usually, for every missed practice or game, the kid will sit a game. And, some coaches, in an attempt to drive home their point, will add that there’s no guarantee that they get more playing time once they sit out their suspension – that they have to earn back the right to get time in the games.

But parents often complain, saying that vacations are meant to be about family time. They say that coaches always say that “family comes first” – but apparently not during a scheduled school break.

Parents often point out that it’s about having quality time together with their kids, and that since usually both parents work, this is a week which is very valuable to them. Thus, it’s not fair to punish their kid for missing a game because he/she is on a family vacation.

Is there a solution? I’m honestly not sure. There are good arguments on both sides.

Some coaches will hold only optional practices during the week. But is that fair to the kids who stayed home over the break?

Or coaches will try and slate only non-league games. But again, is that fair to the kids who remained and competed while their teammates went off to the beach?

Is this a question of dedication to the team?

The ideal situation is probably to shut down all games and practices during the week, but when you have a 10-week season and the weather is iffy, it’s tough to make this happen.

Of course, it would be great if all the kids stayed home and practiced and played, but it’s just very, very hard for a coach to mandate it. And again, should there be a punishment?

If you have any solutions, I’d love to hear them.

HS CODE OF CONDUCT: Here’s How One Athletic Director Makes His Program Work

If you have a chance to listen to the interview I did this AM with Chris McCarthy, the Athletic Director at John Jay HS in Cross River, NY, it will be well worth your time.  I have said many times on my show that there are very few jobs that are as demanding and as daunting as being a modern-day HS athletic director.

As Chris pointed out, he’s responsible for not only overseeing the entire athletic program, but that means he oversees more thn 90 coaches. And when coaches depart, it’s his charge to go out and find new ones – which is not an easy process. Some of the other key takeaways today:

To become a coach in New York State, one needs to be certified and licensed by the State. That involves being trained in advance First Aid and also trained in CPR. Coaches have to take a number of classes in order to be licensed. And of course, they have to be fingerprinted for background checks by the State.

Bear in mind that coaches earn anywhere between $4,000 to $8,000. And by the way, all of the CPR and First Aid and training course come out of the coach’s pocket, not the school’s.

In other words, if you want to work with kids as a coach, you have to make a real commitment. And that’s the way it should be.

Chris also revealed that he protects his coaches by telling parents that the school has a 24-hour black-out period, where Moms and Dads are not allowed to approach or speak to coaches for at least 20 hours after the end of a game.  If parents have an issue, Chris strongly suggests that the parent calls him – the AD — directly, and he’ll intervene.

That’s a bold but enlightened approach to deal with parents these days. But Chris says it only works it the school administration backs him up. Without the administration’s support, this kind of approach wouldn’t work.

And of course, Chris has not only a Code of Conduct in place for the student-athletes, but he also has a Code of Conduct for the parents as well.

Bottom line? McCarthy senses that parental issues about sports in his school district have really begun to level off, as the parents now know they can go to directly to him with an issue. The coaches like the set-up, and so does the school district.

Why Teams Should Respect Custodians and Other Service Employees

By Doug Abrams

A few years ago, a fellow youth hockey coach told me about an emergency his team faced late in the prior season. The team was scheduled to play at 7:00 one Saturday night at the home rink, and he grew nervous when his starting goalie had not arrived by about 6:30. The coach phoned the goalie at home, and the parents told him that they had not left yet because they thought that game time was 9:00.   

The team was in trouble without the starting goalie, but he lived about an hour away and his parents could not drive him to the rink in time.  Then the unexpected happened.  The Zamboni driver began resurfacing the ice for pre-game warmup, but the vehicle sputtered and stopped near the center red line. The game was delayed for more than an hour as the driver and his maintenance staff huddled before the vehicle restarted, continued resurfacing, and finally left the ice.

This sounds like the story of a typical mechanical malfunction, but actually there was nothing typical about it.  The team had always treated the Zamboni driver and other rink staff as friends – bantering with them in the lobby and locker room, asking about their families, inviting them to the team’s holiday party, and regularly extending similar courtesies. With the starting goalie and his parents racing to the rink and certain to arrive late, the Zamboni driver saw an opportunity to repay months of kindness.

The Zamboni had not suffered a mechanical malfunction. The driver simply turned off the engine at center ice to delay the opening faceoff while pretending to make repairs.  He and other maintenance staff delivered a performance that would have made a Hollywood director proud.  Buying time was the driver’s idea, and not the coach’s.

 

A “Teachable Moment” For Coaches, Players and Parents

If my team had faced this predicament, I hope I would have done things differently. I believe in full disclosure and I trust the sportsmanlike impulses of opposing youth league coaches, so I would have preferred to ask the other coach for a one-hour delay.  From what my friend told me, that accommodation would have been possible because the ice time was available that night and the game attracted no fans beyond the players’ friends and immediate families. I have sometimes granted youth hockey opponents accommodations in the interests of spirited competition, and I have sometimes received accommodations.

Speculating about how I would have sought the one-hour delay is not the point here.  This Zamboni story offers a “teachable moment” for coaches and their players and parents. Youth league and high school sports programs usually depend on custodians, maintenance staffs, grounds crews, security guards, grass cutters,  and other employees who (like the Zamboni driver) go to work every day but often toil in anonymity, routinely ignored by team members who do not even bother to learn their names.  Sometimes these employees even face outright insults and discourtesy from patrons who feel a sense of entitlement, but teams have two reasons to extend the respect and common courtesy that everyone deserves.

Ensuring a Smooth Operation

First of all, custodians and other facility personnel can be the team’s best friend in a pinch, as the Zamboni driver demonstrated. These employees have plenty of discretion about how they do their jobs, and personal relationships count.  Life is a two-way street, so the team’s respect and common courtesy can pay rich dividends.

When facility personnel appreciate the coach and players, it is amazing how fast storerooms get opened, fields get dragged, or public address systems get fixed in emergencies. If one of our hockey players would break a skate lace or discover his mouth guard missing moments before a practice or game at our home rink, the rink staff would routinely find the pass key to unlock the equipment shop and provide the needed supplies, knowing that we would pay for them later.  Never did we hear that the pass key “can’t be found.”  The general public did not normally receive such informal courtesies when the shop was closed.   

I wonder how many youth league and high school coaches agonize over Xs and Os at their desks at home, only to be tripped up occasionally because they overlook interpersonal skills that require no special knowledge of the game.  Employees appreciate team members who stop to say hello and chat, rather than treat them like pieces of furniture.  Someone once said that “sometimes it’s the little things that count most.”  That person hit the nail on the head.

Doing the Right Thing

In 1989, Spike Lee earned an Academy Award nomination for his drama, “Do the Right Thing.”  Even more important than any expectation of repayment such as the Zamboni driver’s on that game night, coaches should teach their players and parents to show respect because respecting other people is simply the right thing to do.  

It does not take much effort for coaches, players and parents to treat service employees with respect, but respect does not come naturally to some people.  (Just consider how rudely some people treat waiters and store clerks.)  Coaching resembles a game of “follow the leader,” and the coach sets the right example for players and parents alike by treating people with dignity and common courtesy.  Call it a lesson in Citizenship 101. 

On my teams, the lesson began with the first practice session.  We punctuated our requests with “please” and “thank you,” words that can work magic, even to employees who know that they must do what the team asks.  At home and on the road, our squirt and high school players alike were also responsible for picking up every piece of tape and other refuse that they dropped on the locker room floor.  I said that we would leave the locker rooms clean because “the rink personnel are not your servants, and they are not here to pick up after you.”  Even though employees earn a wage for their time, it is disrespectful to require them to clean up after other people’s children who can clean up after themselves.

From top to bottom, rink personnel were always invited to our holiday and year-end parties, where they had the opportunity to socialize with the players and their parents in a relaxed atmosphere. The interchange was a plus for everyone, and it was the right thing to do. 

Because local newspapers generously provided youth hockey coverage all season, each sports editor received a year-end thank-you card signed by every player. Editors and staff writers take plenty of criticism from readers, but our local newspapers deserved thank-you’s because they gave the players lasting memories by publishing our press releases.  These newspapers would have thrived even without youth hockey news.

Albert Einstein said, “I speak to everyone in the same way, whether he is the garbage man or the president of the university.”  That is solid advice about right and wrong from a wise source.

 

Another Top HS Prospect Gets Burned by the Internet…When are these kids going to learn?

For the past several years, we’ve been preaching on WFAN’s The Sports Edge that kids have to be EXTRA diligent when it comes to using social media.

Whether they’re posting comments or photos on their Facebook account, or sending text messages, or posting comments on Twitter, they have to be aware that once something is sent out — well, it’s sent out!

Law professor Doug Abrams has been at the forefront of this, warning many times on the radio show that kids just don’t seem to understand how radioactive their tweets and postings can be. And that these postings can quickly come back to burn them.

Here’s the latext example. By all accounts, senior defensive back Yuri Wright is one of the nation’s premier football prospects. He’s 6-2, 180, fast, and comes out of a top program at powerhouse Bergen Catholic HS in northern NJ. Yet stupidly, Wright recently sent out a series of tweets that contained both inappropriate sexual and racist comments.

Bergen Catholic moved quickly: they immediately expelled Wright from school. They just kicked him out. A senior, he now has to find a new HS in order to graduate. And right behind that, the Univ of Michigan, which had offered the kid a full scholarship, immediately rescinded their offer. Other colleges, such as Notre Dame and Rutgers, are waiting to decide what they want to do.

In any event, apparently the message is still not getting through. In short, it’s this: KIDS, UNDERSTAND THAT ANYTHING YOU POST ONLINE OR IN A TWEET OR AS A TEXT MESSAGE CAN BE READ BY ANYONE IN CYBERSPACE. Yes, you may intend something as a joke, but unfortunately humor doesn’t travel well in cyberspace.

In addition, if you’re lucky enough to be a recruited athlete, you HAVE TO KNOW that college coaches are constantly following your social media postings. Colleges these days DO NOT want to bring aboard a kid with a questionable personality. It exposes the college to all sorts of potential lawsuits if that athlete does something dumb in college, so coaches are extra vigilant these days in scouring the internet for incidents like thie one by Wright.

What’s the bottom line? When in doubt, don’t send it out. Think twice before anything is sent out. All that being said, these cases just seem to be multiplying. What a shame.

 

My Top Ten Sports Parenting Predictions for 2012…

So much has happened in recent years in the ever-changing world of sports parenting, that I thought I’d finish out 2011 with my Top Ten Predictions for the coming year. Here we go:

10. LL Baseball will follow the NCAA and the Nat’l HS Baseball Federation and allow only BBCOR (and of course wood) bats. No more BESR aluminum bats with their huge sweet spots and dangerous trampoline effects.

Problem is, this new rule, I predict, won’t go into effect until 2013 as the bat manufacturers still want to sell off their large inventory of BESR aluminum bats. As such, LL Baseball mandatory use of BBCOR won’t kick in until 2013.

9. Wood bats will stay remain quite popular with serious young ballplayers.

Let’s face it – any young man who dreams of someday playing pro ball (where only wood is used) will continue to use wood bats during the summer leagues and use BBCOR during HS games.

8. More and more travel teams will try and block their players from playing on their local HS team.

It’s cruel to force HS kids to make a choice between playing for their HS varsity or playing for their travel team, but we’re already seeing this happen with US Soccer Academy forcing soccer players to choose. Sadly, this pattern is only going to continue into the new year.

7. More and more states will enact stronger legislation that will control the over-the-counter sale of high-energy and high-caffeine drinks to kids.

There have already been a number of serious health issues in the news, especially with HS athletes drinking these unregulated sports drinks. Parents need to know that just because these drinks are packaged brightly and sold in stores does not mean that they are safe, or have been scrutinized by the Federal Drug Administration.

In short, too many of these drinks contain seriously dangerous elements link arsenic and lead, and can lead to all sorts of health isssues.

6. Refs, umps, and officials will be given more latitude to end lopsided games and keep sportsmanship in play.

We keep hearing about lopsided scores, and that the coaches don’t mind running up the score. Here’s hoping that if the coaches can’t control themselves, the refs and umps will step in, and once they see a rout is in progress, they allow the clock to run, and if necessary, just stop the game.

Nobody benefits from a lopsided score, and you always run the risk of bitter feelings and fights. So, let’s allow the refs and umps to use their power and do the right thing.

5. In order to help defray the rising cost of HS sports, kids will be charged a fee for trying out.

Hard to believe, but this is already happening in Minnesota, where some public HS’s are already charging varsity hopefuls $50 to try out for the team. This idea may sound outrageous, but it’s the kind of idea that will spread like wildfire.

4. More clarification will be forthcoming regarding boys competing against girls in traditional HS female-oriented sports.

Title IX is a wonderful law, but it was never supposed to be used as a way for 18-year-old boys to compete on the HS girls’ field hockey team, nor allow boys to compete on the HS girls’ swim team. The time has come for the federal govt. to step in and clarify the purpose of the law.

3. More and more coaches will undergo background checks.

In light of the Penn State/Jerry Sandusky scandal, more and more youth leagues will insist that all coaches undergo background checks. This is good news, but unfortunately, only those individuals who have ever been convicted of such a crime will be caught. Parents, always use common sense when it comes to your young athletes and their coaches!

2. HS Codes of Conduct need to be bolstered in terms of cyberbullying.

We have discussed this many times on the show, and in 2012, we really need HS administrators, ADs, coaches and school boards to step up and strengthen the Code of Conduct for athletes regarding online behavior.

Kids still don’t understand how powerful the internet can be, or for that matter, how dangerous. And once something that is alarming or libelous is posted, it’s very difficult to take down once it goes viral.

1. Amazingly in 2012….kids will still love playing sports!

After all the tremendous pressure we put on our kids regarding sports – and I’m talking about the pressure that comes from Moms, Dads, coaches, travel teams, try outs, etc – it’s still amazing that our children love playing sports. But they do!

As such, in 2012, make yourself a promise that you will take a deep breath, take a step back, and will just allow your son or daughter to enjoy the moment of playing sports. If we all did that, it would make for a very healthy and happy new year for us all!

HS Girls’ Basketball Chant: “One, Two, Three…N-Word”?

The media reports from Buffalo, NY, were hard to believe. For the last few years, the members of the Kenmore East HS girls’ varsity basketball team would meet for a private session in the lockeroom before taking the court. There were no coaches or adults present.

And then, the girls would say a little prayer, and then chant, “One, two, three…n-word!” Except that they would actually use the n-word.

Amazingly, one of the girls on the team this year is black, and when she heard this racist mantra, she spoke right up and protested to her teammates. She was told by one of the older girls on the team that it was simply a tradition, and not to think they were racist.

Huh?

In any event, once the school superintendent got wind of all this, he immediately clamped down and drew up a laundry list of punishments, including serious suspensions, reprimands, and so on. He made it abundantly clear that such nonsense would not be allowed in any form.

Bottom line? Hard to believe – and quite frankly, very sad – that girls who are juniors and seniors in HS could somehow come away thinking this pre-game chant was harmless or no big deal. What a shame.

The Continuing Strange Saga of the 9 Wayne Hills HS Football Players

The school board in Wayne NJ announced right after Thanksgiving that they were now going to enforce the ban on the 9 varsity football players who were arrested and charged with the aggravated assault which left two kids from Wayne Valley HS seriously hurt after a party some weeks ago.

The coach of the Wayne Hills football team, Chris Olsen, vigorously opposed that his 9 players be suspended. He insisted that the boys were ” innocent until proven guilty,” and that the only thing they were guilty of was being on the football team. Olsen, who also serves as the school’s athletic director, was adamant in his defense.

And for a few weeks, this defense worked. The 9 players in question were indeed allowed to play in not one but two NJ state playoff games until the school board finally announced that they were going to be banned from any extracurricular activities, which of course includes football. The team is slated to play Old Tappan HS on December 3rd in Metlife Stadium.

Eventually, the facts will all come out when this episode does find its way into court, or into a plea bargain. Who knows what the real facts are in this case? But again, that isn’t the point of the suspension. Even if the 9 football players felt they were threatened by the two victims, or somehow can make a case that they were doing the right thing in beating them unconscious and stomping on them, the truth is — these 9 players had to know that, at some point, they had crossed the line of what was appropriate.

It was at that point when these boys had to come to grips with the reality that this skirmish went far beyond the Code of Conduct for student-athletes, and that they had, in effect, needed to learn a difficult life lesson about doing the right thing.

But as you know, the 9 players and their parents (with the support of their coach) worked hard to fight back andto make a case that they were very much being wronged here. Some of them even hired lawyers to make their case. While that’s okay for their promised day in court, it sets an very ominous and dangerous precedent when it comes to schools and teachers trying to educate students on doing the right thing. And it sure doesn’t make it any easier when the parents of the accused students are opposing the school administration instead of supporting it.

Is missing a run at the state football championship a harsh lesson? Of course. Big time. And let’s just say hypothetically that the 2 kids who were beat up did something they shouldn’t have done – maybe they jumped one of the 9 players, or maybe they threw a bottle at one of the boys. Doesn’t that make the beating fully justifiable?

To that, I would suggest: when did two wrongs start to add up to one right? Yes, it’s a tough lesson for these 9 kids to absorb, but in the long run, school is much more about learning right from wrong – not necessarily about winning state championships in football.