Change in Athletic Code Gives High School Officials Autonomy

In a recent article in The Huntsville Item, Athletes target of changes to HISD code of conduct, Meagan Ellsworth highlights the recent change in the Huntsville High School (TX) student athletic code. A change that now gives authority to school officials to consequence student athletes for breaking their athletic code of conduct “even if they had not been arrested or charged with an offense.”

Basically, this adjustment allows enforcement of student discipline for illegal acts that are observed by any school official or police officer, no legal documentation required. In addition, the change “also allows the athletic director to continue a suspension in those circumstances until an athlete’s legal procedures have been exhausted and charges against him have been dropped.”

And it should be pointed out, as it is stated in the piece, that these adaptations to the rule only apply in situations where “absolute proof” exists.

Hmm…Ok, so that means if a teacher from the school is out on a Friday evening and observes some student athletes from their school in a car smoking, and they are certain who it is and what they were doing, the teacher can report these students to the athletic department and the Athletic Director can hold them accountable based on the rules these athletes all agreed to abide by. All without requiring any legal documentation of the act.

Sounds fine to me.

However, the interesting thing about this change is that there are those who would argue that this negates what is referred to as “due process.”

My question, do we really think that the concept of due process was meant to be applied in situations where an adult, a school official for that matter, actually observed an adolescent breaking the law? And if we say yes to that question then when will it come time for the same principle to be applied between a parent and their own adolescent?

A parent’s responsibility is to raise their child, and adolescent, according to the standards they have set for their family and the rules/guidelines established in the society they are a part of. That “raising”
of their child includes holding them accountable when they make mistakes.

This is not all that different than the school’s, and school officials’, responsibility to hold their students and student athletes accountable for the standards they have set, and that the athlete has agreed to abide by.

Forty or so years ago, this was hardly an issue, not even a discussion. If you were seen by a school official or police officer behaving illegally and it got reported to the school, you were held accountable. No questions asked.

Ahh, the good old days. There are some changes from our past that have not really been for the better.

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