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Watkins limits additional rules coaches can enforce

WATKINS GLEN—After over half an hour of discussion, the school board decided at the Monday, Aug. 17 meeting to eliminate the coaches’ ability to make additional punishments for student athletes concerning substance abuse.

Board member Tom Richardson said it was a matter of consistency.  In addition to the athletic/parent handbook, some coaches have student athletes adhere to additional rules saying if they are caught drinking, they cannot play for the rest of the season.  Athletic Director Denise Whickham explained these training rules are regulations on top of what it is stated in the handbook.  She explained that she makes the coaches tell her, put it in writing for the parent and student to sign, and that it cannot be something that comes up halfway through a season.

Richardson said he saw it being a problem if not all coaches had the same punishment for substance abuse.  He gave a hypothetical scenario where two students are caught at the same party.  Both students are in different sports and one coach takes the athlete off the team after this infraction.  However, the second coach follows the handbook and does not allow the student to play for one third of the games.  Richardson said that parents would come in unhappy with different punishments for the same incident.

Whickham said that coaches unable to end the season for a student athlete because of substance abuse, could keep the student on the bench after the suspension.  Superintendent Tom Phillips said that was true, but also agreed with Richardson.

The board left the ability of coaches to make their own individual training rules for other things that were sport specific, like the consequence for throwing a football helmet.

Other suggestions made by the board before the athletic/parent handbook was approved by the board, included some wording changes and typo corrections.  Board member Gloria Brubaker also suggested that in addition to the handbook, which students are supposed to sign saying they read, that a summary be available as well.  She said she understood the school is required to have the handbook, but also said it was wordy for a teenager.  The one to two page summary could also be given to them just as a reminder of what the consequences are for their actions.

In other business:

•   The coaching handbook was also approved with the same changes to references about additional training rules concerning substance abuse.

•   The board approved  two ACE courses, technology and health, through Corning Community College.

•   The annual fire inspections reports were approved.

•   The board approved the following coaching appointments: Nils Watson for modified boys soccer and Jon Edwards for modified girls soccer.

The next meeting will be Tuesday, Sept. 8.  It is anticipated to start at approximately 6:30 p.m., following an executive session.  


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