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School Board Votes to Modify Code of Conduct for Athletics and Extra-Curriculars

Modifications change policies regarding substance and alcohol use

The Board of Education discussed changes to the Code of Conduct for athletics and extra-curricular activities and ultimately voted 4-3 to approve modifications presented at the Aug. 13 meeting.

The new code of conduct for Oswego schools contains several changes from the previous code, namely regarding policies on alcohol and substance abuse.

Board member Brent Lightfoot proposed a modification to the section for violations of alcohol and substance abuse.

He said the previous policy allowed for a student who attended a party where drugs or alcohol was available, but made the right decision to leave when those abuses became known, to be punished anyway.

“Student could still be reprimanded and still punished. And I have an issue with that. I don’t think it’s right; I don’t think it’s a good policy,” said Lightfoot.

Board member Mike Scaramuzzi was in firm disagreement with Lightfoot.

“I don’t stand for it," Scaramuzzi said. "They should suffer consequences, just like they do under the current policy. This new policy would drastically reduce the consequences for such action.”

Scaramuzzi further added that the students should think twice about what kind of party they go to and should be accountable for their actions.

Board President Bill Walsh said the district wasn’t condoning going to parties, but that Lightfoot’s proposal would allow students who did not know about the substances to leave and not be penalized.

Several board members proposed changes, including removing the words “host or” from rule number 5 for participants which stated:

 5. Participants will not host or attend a party or have the participant’s parent/guardian or family member host a party at which the following are permitted for minors: illegal consumption of alcohol, use of controlled substances, steroids, or look-alike drugs.

 The suggestion was also made to eliminate sections 3 and 3a under the Specific Violations Related to Alcohol, Drugs, and/or Controlled Substances, which stated:

 3. A participant who violates the Code by attending a party where illegal consumption of alcohol, use of controlled substances, steroids, or look-alike drugs shall be suspended for one contest or one week whichever is deemed appropriate by school personnel for the sport/activity.

 3a. There is a one-time allowance for a participant who violates the Code by attending a party where illegal consumption of alcohol, use of controlled substances, steroids, or look-alike drugs AND who voluntarily admits to a coach/sponsor or athletic director/administrator by the end of the next school day, may have all consequences waived if deemed appropriate by the school administration.

 “So now it says a student can attend a party and drink all they want?” questioned board member Dave Behrens.

Scaramuzzi said that Oswego 308 would be the only district that doesn’t address the presence in the consumption of alcohol and other substances.

Lightfoot said there are other districts that do not enforce that policy and don’t investigate parties over the weekend unless a police report was filed.

“If a police report is written you have no option to reduce your sentence,” said Scaramuzzi.

“Why is that the school district’s responsibility?” asked board vice-president Alison Swanson. “Why is that not the parents or police’s responsibility?”

Lightfoot said his point was it was the board’s job to set a good policy.

“I have a problem with the ambiguity of a policy that would allow an administrator the option of his or her choice on how to punish or not punish a student based on various scenarios," he said.

A motion was made to eliminate the sections mentioned previously, which would then allow for students that said they did not partake in alcohol or drugs, or left a party that was doing them, to not be penalized.

The motion passed 4 -3, with board members Scaramuzzi, Behrens and Cullick voting against it.

oswego308watch August 14, 2012 at 02:18 PM
Control freaks. An out of control government meddling in every aspect of a person's life. Just cancel the whole damn paradigm, refund my taxes, and I'll go buy what I want.
Jean August 14, 2012 at 02:23 PM
totally agree!
Jean August 14, 2012 at 02:23 PM
amen!
Alette Anderson August 14, 2012 at 02:47 PM
The rules were still in place for these events, so obviously (as we all know) they didn't prevent situations from happening. Their consequences are through the law and their parents (hopefully). Does the school review the all police reports and then give out consequences??? That is how the code reads, but I like to know if that happens.
Alette Anderson August 14, 2012 at 02:48 PM
Agree!
Alette Anderson August 14, 2012 at 02:52 PM
They should be held accountable. That is the parents' job-not the schools. The laws job too since underage drinking and using drugs are illegal.
ayar August 14, 2012 at 03:57 PM
What about assistant principals who are pulled over for drunk driving in their car? should they be held accountable too based on the 6 pillars, or is that one of those not-talked about double standards ?
Jennifer August 14, 2012 at 04:14 PM
that is such a grey area. How do you know that a student didn't know there wasn't going to be drinking or drugs? One ususally knows/hears something? I agree, that one should not be punished, if, they walked into a party observed the drinking/drugs and walked out. That is the smart thing to do.
Alette Anderson August 14, 2012 at 04:21 PM
They are head accountable by the law-oh wait, that is true for kids too. They are on their own time-oh wait, that is true for kids too. Hmmm?
Alette Anderson August 14, 2012 at 04:22 PM
held accountable-not head accountable (Off with their heads :) )
JimmyJ August 14, 2012 at 05:20 PM
A lot of this is the Board tinkering too much with what was a simple concept. Come on all you parents, me included, have we forgotten when we were in high school? We all went to parties, at some of those parties there was some pretty flagrant no-no's going on. At other parties many times it's a few people off in another room and the majority may not be aware of it. So everyone is accountable for the trouble caused by a few. Ok, so every time we go to a bar we would ALL be held accountable because someone left drunk and crashed his car? Yeah yeah we are talking about minors BUT aren't we also supposed to set an example for them? Let's hold the same rules against ourselves for ONE WEEK and see how many of us wind up in front of the man.
JimmyJ August 14, 2012 at 05:23 PM
@janet, your son should be proud of himself and he's an example of exactly what we need more of. You are right, dump them at the corner, and whew...6 or 7 hours of freedom..let the school raise them....then pick them back up. WRONG ANSWER! Also don;t ever think the school is doing what they claim they are doing either...you have to be involved 100%
mary casula August 14, 2012 at 05:33 PM
I can't even believe this is up for debate. Having kids already go through the school system and graduate, I can tell you with 100% certainty that if a student or athlete knows they may be penalized from their activities/sports for drinking/drugs etc. they will think twice. Will some still make the decision to drink etc., yes, however they then need to understand there will be a consequence for that decision. Welcome to the real world!!! Yes, parents should hold their children accountable, but not all do.
Martin August 14, 2012 at 07:03 PM
Not only do the students KNOW what going ona a party they are planning on attending, there is a very high probability that Parents and Teachers know too. This was certainly the case when I was in high school. And on more than one occasion an adult would 'drop a dime' for the cops to show up...generally to see who was there and what was truly going on. I guess having good sports is more important than abiding by the rules.
Oswego Resident August 14, 2012 at 07:25 PM
I thinks it's a sound Board action, to be honest. I can see where the grey area has been clarified, in that if a kid was attending a "clean party" and a another group of kids showed up with illegal substances, why should the original kid be punished, if they left the party? He acted responsibly. Or are we saying that the athletic community in D308 should never attend any party while in season, just in case? that's not realistic in my experience.
jol717 August 14, 2012 at 07:28 PM
All the zero tolerance, code of conduct, etc. is total BS. Schools should only be allowed to enforce the conduct of a student while they are in the building, on school property or at a school sponsored function. In any other instance, what the student does is between them and either their parents or law enforcement. I can't believe we've let the school administrations and school boards take such control over our kids lives.
Melissa R. Olin-Gibson August 14, 2012 at 07:34 PM
Not only was it a drunk driving charge - it was a drug paraphinalla charge
Alette Anderson August 14, 2012 at 07:43 PM
Been told we are the only one without this, but I looked up other districts. Here is what I found. Yorkville does not address attendance just possession and/or consumption (http://www.yorkville.k12.il.us/district/Bdpolbk/7.240p.pdf) West Aurora put a nice little "primarily" in there to keep it muddy Students shall not attend or host a party primarily attended by students or for the benefit of students at which alcohol, tobacco or any controlled substances are provided or at which the use of any such substances is Permitted. West Aurora Code of Conduct Can't find East Aurora. Naperville 203 states that if you attend.....Attendance: A participant who violates 6. above and for whom there is deemed sufficient proof of non-use, shall be suspended for one contest or one week, which ever is appropriate, for the sport/activity. A 2nd attendance offense has the same consequence as a 1st offense involving consumption.
Alette Anderson August 14, 2012 at 07:43 PM
204 does have a policy on this, but then gives a free pass once (even for consumption which is way more relaxed than ours Voluntary Admission / 1ST Offense: A student may admit that he/she violated the code provisions regarding drugs and alcohol only one time in his/her high school career. The voluntary admission to the coach/sponsor/athletic or activities director must occur within the first 24 hours following the rule violation. The student may be required to attend an education program and/or the Athletic/Activities Director may suspend the student from one or more contests/events. Failure to follow the recommendation may result in further suspension. Voluntary admission is not applicable if authorities respond to a gathering where alcohol or drugs are present and report to school officials, if a ticket is issued for attendance at, consumption/possession or names appear in the newspapers. http://mvhs.ipsd.org/uploads/2011-12_Athletic_and_Activity_Code.pdf
Alette Anderson August 14, 2012 at 07:45 PM
Seems many districts feel there is a learning curve to high school. Kind of like when we were there and when our parents were there.....
JimmyJ August 14, 2012 at 07:52 PM
Some of the comments really amaze me. Either some are nearly admitting that they were into things to bad when they were kids that they are over compensating now or that their parents were so bad at parenting them that they now need to create rules for every possible thing under the guise of this being a different world. Was there no alcohol, pot, heroin, lsd, etc from 1960 to 1981? This must all be something new this drug and alcohol stuff. Maybe so but one thing that IS different is that having a stay home parent is rare. Family dinner as an entire family every night is rare. Kids being left to fill the time while both parents are at work and school is out is common. We seem to want small adults from 1st grade thru 12th. Punch the clock, sit down and shut up, do your work, punch out and go home. Some childhood.
Jean August 14, 2012 at 10:13 PM
yep its ridiculous!
Rhonda August 14, 2012 at 10:39 PM
As a parent, unfortunately I had to go through this with my child. The consequences were severe and he did learn his lesson but I feel that if it is such a problem in our district with our children there should be some prevention counseling. We had to pay $300 for counseling at Kendall county just to reduce suspension from 10 days to 5 days. Why are these classes done after the mistake. Why not have our school counselor provide education! Also the suspension we are setting kids up for another failure because no one is there to help with notes from class for studying and they miss their class work.. Which just causes them to continue failing- It just causes a domino effect! These rules are implemented but no one looks at how the process flows. Also its not just the athletes that are out partying .
JimmyJ August 14, 2012 at 11:00 PM
No there is an idea, counselors actually counseling! Correct, its not just the athletes partying, but when an athlete runs into the trouble this stuff is trying to legislate from happening, it brings shame to the school....when it's just a regular student...it never makes the paper, except for the police blotter in the ledger if the police were involved otherwise you never know...
JPauly August 15, 2012 at 02:13 AM
Nice work school board. Parents, you need to make your kid accountable, not the school. Start when they are, say about 5?
oswegoannie August 15, 2012 at 03:00 AM
Janet - if you don't mind answering, I am curious. Did you advise the parents of the kids who were at the friends house of what was going on? My son crossed a line last year and he knows if it happens again, I will contact the parents of each and every other kid he was with to let them know what my son was doing, so they are aware of what their kids were around and may have been up to. My son, of course, thinks I am insane. I wish last year someone had called and let me know what his buddies had been doing. I would have been wiser, sooner.
Kirk Mango August 15, 2012 at 03:25 PM
As a current educator (33+ years), former athlete and coach (17 years), parent of athletes, and one who has seen the gamut of both sides of this issue, I can honestly say that I am torn regarding the "attendance" = "guilt" issue as described in this post. On the one hand, it is true that if enough abstainers where able to attend these illegal functions (and parents, they are illegal), the chances of them influencing the middle group of kids (ones not sure what they will do) does exist. I had this discussion many times with my own kids as athletes when they were in high school. They made a good point, however, due to my own parenting style (which has very strong emphasis on one’s character) their code stipulated that they are guilty if they attend. They, my kids, were well aware that if they broke the code, the one they gave their word that they would abide by, and I found out about it, I would expect them to turn themselves in. If not, I would. However, philosophically, I had a tough time arguing against their point that their attendance could help others, as I would have a tough time arguing the same with commenters here about the same. Yet, those of you who were athletes, are/were coaches and/or teachers (people in the system), or are still young enough to remember all those parties, know, without a doubt that many kids, maybe most, caught would lie about their use of drugs or alcohol during their attendance at the party...continued
Kirk Mango August 15, 2012 at 03:42 PM
This does not bode well for the reasoning for changing the rule at the end of the post "A motion was made to eliminate the sections mentioned previously, which would then allow for students that said they did not partake in alcohol or drugs, or left a party that was doing them, to not be penalized." It is a sad and tough situation. There are too many that do not completely understand the purpose behind athletic codes, why they need to go beyond just the confines of the school venue to be effective, the role parents play, along with the athletes role. It is a multifaceted issue that needs to be addressed in a multifaceted way. An athletic code alone, no matter how well written, will not have the impact it is intended unless all faucets of the issue are addressed. I have been in the "business" too long and seen too much to be able to say otherwise...continued
Kirk Mango August 15, 2012 at 03:42 PM
Heck, I have seen high school athletes on video tape taking part in illegal activities at parties and when confronted not knowing they were on camera simply lie about their use. And parents who have supported these lies. That in and of itself is a problem. And please keep in mind, losing a percentage of one's season (20% or so) is not the end of the world as a consequence. Some seem to make it out to be. And if one feels it is, then don't make a choice that puts you at risk. The bottom line, I am sorry to say, is that Oswego (like so many others) has not "fixed" the problem with this change. They could, possibly, have just made it worse. Kirk Mango Aurhor: Becoming a True Champion
R D H August 20, 2012 at 06:02 PM
Just curious. Is there a code of conduct for teachers? Found out my son's teacher for this year (4th grade) has a habit of telling the kids to shut up. Getting concerned and school hasn't even started yet.

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