Coaches seek policy to punish troublemakers at sports events

March 11, 1994|By Lan Nguyen | Lan Nguyen,Sun Staff Writer

Howard County needs to establish a strong policy to deter the increasing number of fights and other violent incidents at interscholastic sports events, two high school coaches told the school board yesterday.

Basketball coaches Dave Greenberg and Jim Albert said students and players who hit coaches and start fights should be suspended for 45 days and be banned from extra-curricular activities and sports for the rest of that season and the next.

That would be the same as the punishment meted out to students who violate the school system's drug and alcohol policy.

"We'd like to see [punishment] as severe as that," said Mr. Albert, boys basketball coach at Atholton High School. Mr. Greenberg coaches girls basketball at Mount Hebron.

Their testimony came after a half-dozen violent incidents this basketball season, including players who assaulted coaches and parents who verbally abused and punched coaches in the face.

Under county policy, a student ejected from a game for fighting must sit out the next game as well. The policy does not mandate suspension, although a separate disciplinary policy allows suspensions of varying lengths for fighting.

The two coaches, who told the board they had the support of nearly 30 other basketball coaches, also urged a clearer policy than currently exists for dealing with parents who assault coaches and cause problems during games.

Board members agreed that the school system needs a stronger policy and asked the coaches to bring back a proposal.

In other business yesterday, school officials presented an update on a technology magnet program scheduled to start in 1996 with the opening of two new high schools, River Hill and Long Reach.

The program would rely heavily on business and industry to train students on the job. It also would be open to all students, whether they were going to work, enroll in a technical/community college or attend a four-year university.

The magnet program would offer all of the classes now offered at the School of Technology as well as new ones like satellite technology, molecular genetics and hydraulics.

Board members praised the program but had questions on such topics as bus transportation, curriculum and teacher recertification.

Board Chairman Dana Hanna was concerned that no money had been earmarked in the five-year capital budget to cover the cost of shutting down the School of Technology at the end of the 1995-1996 school year and renovating it to an applications and research lab, an integral part of the magnet program.

Superintendent Michael E. Hickey said he intends to budget money this summer for the renovation project, and that he was reluctant to do so earlier because the technology magnet committee had not finished a working plan.

Board member Sandra French said she was concerned that a total of 600 seats would be reserved for a program that may not attract that many students, at a time when the school system is pressed for space.

School officials responded that they were confident students would sign up for the program, noting that the School of Technology has 600 students this year.

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