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Archive for Friday, October 8, 1999

LAWRENCE ATHLETES SIGN CODE OF CONDUCT

October 8, 1999

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Just like in the Shawnee Mission school district, Lawrence high school athletes sign documents promising they will not use alcohol, tobacco and illegal drugs.

High school codes of conduct are in the news in the wake of a lawsuit filed by a SM Northwest football player against the Shawnee Mission school district. He was removed from the football team without a hearing after allegedly violating the school district code of conduct.

Several athletes who attended a party and admitted using alcohol were suspended from their teams. The football player in question did not admit violating the code of conduct yet still was suspended from the team.

"We talked about that in our current events class -- the Shawnee Mission policy compared to ours," Free State athletics director Steve Grant said Thursday. "Our policy, I guess, is three strikes and you're out. It comes under our code of conduct, which deals with things in and out of school like suspensions, absences, felony convictions and substance abuse policy.

"Ours evidently covers a wider range of behaviors than Shawnee Mission's."

The Free State policy, which is identical to the one at Lawrence High, is that after the first offense an athlete is suspended from the team for a week, including at least one competition.

The second violation results in being kicked off the team for remainder of the season, while the third offense means the athlete is banned from athletics for remainder of their high school career.

Grant also said the "strikes" are cumulative during a career and the policy is signed when a student first goes out for a sport. The athlete only signs once.

"In my brief tenure,I've never had anbody go to the sceond level," Grant said, "and just a handlful of kids violate that first one and miss a week."

Lawrence students sign a document saying they understand and agree to obey the Lawrence School District policy concerning codes of conduct.

"The document was not only reviewed by the athletic director, but by the school administration, the central office and even legal counsel," LHS athletics director Ron Commons said.

"I think the students and I think the parents understand it. What becomes difficult is we're not in the business of policing parties. We do our best and always adhere to the policies."

Of possible violations, Commons said: "In school settings, there's always rumors going around."

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