Twenty-five Scott City Athletes Suspended from Sports




Twenty-five Scott City Athletes Suspended from Sports
By: Kate Scott

(Scott City, MO)--A Heartland school district is showing students it means business when it comes to its zero-tolerance policy on alcohol.

The Scott City School District suspended 25 student-athletes from extra-curricular activities, after they confessed to drinking at an after-prom party on Saturday night.

“Once an issue like that comes to the attention of a coach, they are obligated by our Student Athletic Handbook to talk to the students about it, and then investigate it,” says Superintendent Diann Bradshaw about why the district decided to look into the allegations.  Baseball Coach Mike Umfleet told parents at Wednesday night’s school board meeting, “I was informed that there was a party, and I was informed there was drinking.  I asked, and they said they did. That's all that happened.”

But that admission was enough to enforce the letter of the law in the district, where the Student Athletic Handbook clearly lists the punishment for athletes using alcohol: suspension from extracurricular activities for 14 days.  “We are following the guidelines as established in our Athletic Handbook,” Bradshaw tells Heartland News.  The students can't say they didn't know about the policy, because they all signed forms saying they read the handbook, before they were ever allowed to put on a jersey. 

The baseball team will be hardest hit by the punishment.  The team will be missing so many players, that it will be forced to forfeit its next five games. The softball and track teams won't suffer as much, though members of both were also suspended.   It's not the way the school district wanted to start the spring sports season, but Bradshaw says it had to be done.  “I think its very important for us not to pick and choose what policy we’re going to reinforce,” she states.

Interestingly enough, some parents at Wednesday night's board meeting thought the school was being too tough on the student athletes.  One parent of a baseball player was especially angry.  “My kids were not involved, but my kid is being punished!” he ranted, as he told board members the punishment is unfair to the rest of the team. 

Other parents were more concerned about the students being punished.  “I think some of the kids didn't know their rights,” said one mother, who thought the athletes had been tricked into admitting their guilt.  “I think that they were led to believe if you confess, everything will be fine, and it wasn't.”  Other parents said the students shouldn’t be punished for drinking “safely” after an event like prom.  “We can let them go trash a hotel room or drive up and down the interstate, or give them safe place to go,” offered one mother.  “It's going to happen.”

On the other side of the spectrum, other parents are upset because they say a district employee provided the alcohol to the students.  Those parents, who contacted Heartland News on Wednesday afternoon, did not stand up to speak at Wednesday night’s board meeting. 

As of right now, the school district has not taken action against any of its employees.