Monday, September 18, 2006

Weast lieutenant gives 'poor excuse for non-action'

MCPS is hiding behind the argument that it has no written rule about whether or not indicted armed robbers should be allowed to play football for county high schools.

William Beattie, the MCPS director of athletics, "publicly stated there is no specific rule that would deal with a student arrest and any decision that would bar the students has to come from the local high school," Barry P. Smith writes in the Almanac.

"This is a poor excuse for non-action. Does MCPS really have to have a written rule against armed robbery? Most schools have 'code of conduct' contracts for their athletes," Smith continues. (Indeed, as reported on September 1, MCPS kids had to sign such a code this fall when they went back to school.)

"For instance," says Smith, "grades, alcohol-related violations and even attendance problems trigger automatic penalties for athletes. I am certain these 'contracts' do not specify every criminal offense that a student athlete could be sanctioned for. If other issues can be taken into account . . . what should be done for armed robbery?

"Parents and other citizens should not be expected to sit back and watch MCPS officials reassign student athletes who are under indictment and then have MCPS declare they have no standing on whether they should continue to be allowed to participate in athletic and other extracurricular activities. . . .

"Allowing players to compete on our athletic fields wearing GPS ankle bracelets is bringing national scorn to Montgomery County. The most troubling thing is . . . we deserve it. . . ."

[Contact Beattie at:]