November 15, 2007

Conduct of Parents, Spectators Focus of New SCR-I Athletic Policy

Following the growing trend of school districts across the nation, the Scotland County R-I Board of Education voted 6-0 on November 8th to implement a new athletic/activities handbook to address the conduct of parents and spectators at extracurricular activities.

“The board adopted a policy concerning parent/ coach conferences and spectator activity at events,” said Superintendent Dave Shalley. “Many schools are experiencing the same type situations and have policies. This will be to the benefit of all parties.”

The policy specifically addresses spectator conduct at school sponsored events and establishes consequences for inappropriate behavior.

It states “Parents and spectators are encouraged to cheer their teams with enthusiasm while exhibiting good sportsmanship. The school will not tolerate anyone being on the floor before, during or after the game, or berating the players, coaches and or officials.”

The first offense of this policy will result in a meeting with the administrative staff as well as banishment from the next competition at that level.

A second offense would result in another meeting with the administration and a suspension of rights to attend events for the remainder of the year.

The board-approved policy also establishes guidelines for parent contact with coaches. It prohibits pressuring coaches to increase playing time and will not allow discussion of team strategy, play calling or other student athletes or participants.

The district stresses that there are situations that may require a conference between the coach and a parent, and added these types of meetings are important to insure accurate communication to foster clear understanding of the other’s position.

The policy establishes the following guidelines for such conferences:

A 24-hour waiting period is required to set an appointment with the coach;

The student athlete must be present during all meetings;

It also prohibits confronting a coach or interfering with a player before, during or after a contest or practice, unless it is injury related. Parents and spectators should not enter the locker room, dugout, or be on the sidelines before, during or after a contest or practice unless their student has been injured and they have the coach’s permission.

“These can be emotional times for both the parent and the coach,” the policy states. “Meetings of this nature usually do not promote resolution.”

Individuals that do not observe the policy will face similar penalties for the first and second offenses as established in the spectator policy.

The handbook update concludes by stating:

“A winning philosophy is important, but realizing the importance of how the game is played is equally important. Simple acts or gestures of respect—such as displaying good conduct, cooperating with officials, shaking hands with opponents before and after the contest, showing self-control at all times, accepting decisions and abiding by them, and never being boastful or bitter—will aid you and your team in portraying the standards of sportsmanship expected of athletes at Scotland County R-I High School.”

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