District responds to questions

Editor:

There have been two questions raised regarding the Sweet Home School District’s policies surrounding consistency in enforcing student behavior consequences for inappropriate behavior.

The first question I have heard is, “Why are athletes held to a higher standard than other students?” If an athlete gets into trouble with the law, outside of the school day, she or he suffers a consequence for the inappropriate behavior (loss of playing time, possible loss of right to play, etc.). If a non-athlete does the same inappropriate behavior outside the school day, she or he does not receive any consequences from the school.

On the surface, this does seem unfair. However, it must be understood that student athletes volunteer to participate in sports. In doing so, they actually sign a contract with the district agreeing that they will be held accountable for their behavior at all times, not just during school hours or while they are at school activities. The consequences are spelled out in their contract and the athletes know these well in advance.

Non-athletes do not volunteer to attend school; they are required by law to do so. The school’s jurisdiction is limited to school hours and school activities. School Board Policy JFC states, “No student will be punished for conduct which occurs out of school, except at school-related or supervised functions, at a bus stop or traveling to and from school, or if the behavior damages school property.”

A second question I have heard is, “Shouldn’t a student receiving academic recognition also be held accountable for behavior beyond school hours?” This question is not currently addressed in any school or district policy or requirement. However, it is a question that the administration will be reviewing over the summer.

Larry Horton

Superintendent

School District #55

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